Family Meliaceae A L De Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Mahogany Family

Physical description: The family Meliaceae consists of 51 genera and 550 species of tropical trees known to produce bitter oxygenated triterpenoids, including limonoids and furanocoumarins. Meliaceae are closely related to the Simaroubaceae and Rutaceae. The wood is dense, hard and of commercial value. The bark is bitter and astringent. The leaves are pinnate, alternate or spiral. The inflorescence are axillary racemes of numerous tiny flowers. The calyx comprises of 3-5 valvate sepals. The corolla comprises of 3-5 petals alternate with the sepals. The andrecium is characteristically tubular and comprises of 6-10 stamens, the anthers of which are tetrasporangiate and dithecal. The gynecium consists of 2-5 carpels joining to form a compound, plurilocular ovary, with each locule containing a pair of ovules attached to axil placenta. The fruits are septicidal or loculicidal capsules that are occasionally berries or drupes, containing several seeds which are often winged.

Pharmaceutical interest: To the family Meliaceae belong a number of timbers such as Swietenia mahogani (L.) Jacq. (mahogany) and Cedrela odor-ata L. A classical example of medicinal Meliaceae is Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (Azadirachta, Indian Pharmaceutical Codex) or margosa, neem, the dried stem bark, root bark and leaves of which were used in India as a bitter and antiperiodic remedies, usually as an infusion (1 in 20; dose 4-8 mL). An oil expressed from the seeds (neem or margosa oil) has been used as a hair tonic and in skin diseases. From this species native to India has been characterized azadirachtin, a modified triterpene, which has been the focus of attention for its insecticidal properties. The limonoids of Meliaceae have attracted a great deal of interest due to their cytotoxic properties. One such limonoid is argenteanone from Aglaia argentea, which inhibits the growth of KB cells at an IC50 value of 7.5 mg/mL. In the Asia-Pacific, Aglaia odorata Lour., Aphanamyxis rohituka (Roxb.) Pierre, Aphanamyxis grandifolia Bl. (Amoora aphanamyxis Roem. & Schult.), Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (Melia azedarach L.), Sandoricum koejape (Burm. f.) Merr. (Sandoricum indicum Cav., Sandoricum nervosum Bl.). Toona sinensis (Juss.) Roem., Toona surenii (Bl.) Merr., Trichilia connaroides (Wight & Arn.) var. microcarpa (Pierre) Bentvelzen, Chukrasia tabularis A. Juss., Wal-surea elata Pierre, Chisocheton penduliflorus Planch. ex Hiern and Swietenia mahogani (L.) Jacq. are of medicinal value. Note that these plant species are often used to invigorate the body and to expel vermin. It will be interesting of

Azadirachtin

Argenteanone A

Azadirachtin

Argenteanone A

learn whether a more intensive study of Meliaceae will reveal any molecules of therapeutic interest.

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