Pharmaceutical interest

Xanthones:To date, the pharmacological potential of Saponaria vaccaria L. is unknown but the plant contains a xanthone called vaccaxanthone. Xan-thones, have attracted a great deal of interest on account of their antifun-gal, antibacterial, platelet aggregation inhibitors, anti-inflammatory and antiHuman Immunodeficiency Virus properties as well as their ability to inhibit the enzymatic activity of monoamine oxidase (MAO A and to a lesser of extent of MAO B). What are the pharmacological properties of vaccaxanthone?

Uses: Saponaria vaccaria L. is used by the Chinese to heal furuncles and wounds, soothe inflamed parts, and to check bleeding. In Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Saponaria vaccaria L. is used to expel impurities. In India, Saponaria vaccaria L. is used to reduce spleen enlargement, regulate menses, heal ulcers, and to soothe inflamed parts and irritated skin. The juice expressed from the plant is used to treat fever and to invigorate health.

OH OO H

OH OO H

OCH3

Vaccaxanthone

OCH3

Vaccaxanthone

Antitumor properties: Of particular interest are cytotoxic ribosome-inactivating glycoproteins characterized from Saponaria species. Examples of such glycoproteins are saporin 6 and pyramidatine (Gasperi-Campani A et al., 1991; Tecce R et al., 1991). The seeds of Saponaria vaccaria L. contain pyramidatine, which is able to bind covalently to the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibodies, and therefore inhibit significantly the proliferation of grafted human tumor cells in nude mice (Di Massimo AM et al., 1997).

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