Pharmaceutical interest

Anti-cancer properties: Chelidonium majus L. elaborates several sorts of cytotoxic isoquinoline alkaloids such as chelidonine, chelerythrine, san-guinarine, berberine, coptisine and stylopine which are probably involved in the anti-cancer property mentioned above. NSC-631570 (Ukrain) is a semisynthetic compound of thiophos-phoric acid and chelidonine which nearly doubles the median survival times of patients with histologically proven unresectable pancreatic cancer (Gansauge F et al., 2002). The anti-cancer property of this plant can

Fig. 44. Chelidonium majus L. From: KLU Herbarium 26739. Herb. Lugd. Batav. Field collector & botanical identification: JF Maxwell, 17 May 1977. Geographical localization: Leiden, Netherlands. Erect herb growing around the RijksHerbarium.

also be mediated by glycoproteins such as a CM-Ala, a protein-bound polysac-charide which enhances nitric oxide production in peritoneal macrophages and exhibits antitumoral activity, suggesting antitumoral immunostimulator properties (Song JY etal., 2002).

Anti-ulcer property: One might set the hypothesis that the medicinal uses mentioned above results from isoquinoline alkaloids with anticholinergic effect. Note that an extract of Chelidonium majus reduces gastric acid output, increases mucin secretion, and boosts the release of prostaglandin E2, and leukotrienes (Khayyal MT et al., 2001).

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