Pharmaceutical interest

Trichosanthin: Trichosanthes species are interesting because they produce a series of ribosome-inactivating proteins which might be of value in treating cancers and HIV. The roots of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim. are known, for instance, to contain tri-chosanthin, a 27 KDa single ribosome-inactivating protein consisting of 247 amino acids, which exhibits manifold pharmacological properties. Trichosantin is active against leukaemia (Take-moto DJ et al., 1998) and has been described by some as a "promising anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus". Trichosanthin annihilates infected macrophages, and eliminate this major reservoir of Human Immunodeficiency Virus from the body. Since the discovery of its specific injurious properties on human placental trophoblasts in the 1970's, trichosanthin has been used clinically in China to cause an abortion and to treat diseases of trophoblastic origin such as hydatiform mole, invasive mole and choriocarcinoma. Soon after the laboratory finding in 1989 by McGrath et al., that it inhibits the replication of HIV-1 in both acutely infected T-lymphoblastoid cells and in chronically-infected macrophages, and selectively kills HIV-infected cells while leaving uninfected cells unharmed, clinical trials of trichosanthin as a potential treatment for HIV have been carried out in the States.

Trichosanthin attacks the life cycle of the virus at an entirely different point from zidovudine (AZTĀ®) and related drugs, and in other words, it has a unique mechanism of action complementary to other drugs. Clinical reports show that trichosanthin has some levels of properties on HIV patients and it has been suggested as a possible treatment that may fill the gap in the treatment of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection. Other substances of

Common names: Chinese cucumber, Chinese snakegourd, gua-lou tian-hua-fen (Chinese).

Uses: In China and Taiwan, a decoction of the roots is drunk to quench thirst, treat fever, and promote expectoration, urination and milk secretion. In Korea, the roots are used to promote expectoration, heal hemorrhoids and moisten dry skin.

interest are a series of multiflorane pentacyclic triterpenes which inhibit the early expression of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) antigen by Raji cells induced by 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (AkihisaT et a/, 2001).

Anti-tumor properties: The plant is known to elaborate trichomislin, a ribosome-inactivating protein, which induces apoptosis via mitochondria and the enzymatic activity of caspase-3 (Mi SL et a/., 2005).

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