Chemical characterization, antiproliferative and antifungal activities of Clinacanthus nutans

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Clinacanthus nutans Lindau (Family: Acanthaceae) is a medicinal herb widely distributed in the tropic and subtropic areas of Asia. C. nutans is traditionally consumed as vegetable or herbal tea, as well as a folk medicine for anticancer and antifungal activities. However, to date, chemical constituent responsible for observed health beneficial effects of this medicinal plant is not clear. In the current study, 32 compounds (1−32), including three new megastigmanes (1–3) were isolated from the aerial parts of C. nutans. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of comprehensive NMR, MS, and CD spectroscopic data analysis, as well as chemical hydrolysis. Among the isolates, cycloartane triterpenoids (9, 10, and 12) displayed moderate anti-proliferative effects against HepG2 cell growth with IC50 values ranging from 9.12 to 19.89 μM. Data obtained from flow cytometry analysis and western blotting assays revealed that compounds 9 and 12 induced apoptosis of HepG2 cells by modulating the expression of proteins associated to mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic pathway. Furthermore, megastigmanes 1, 2, 7, and 8 enhanced the anti-Candida albicans activity of amphotericin B (AmB), supporting the synergistic effects between megastigmanes and AmB. This is the first report of anticancer and antifungal potential of cycloartane triterpenoids and megastigmanes in C. nutans, which shed useful insights on the relationship between C. nutans's chemical constituent and its beneficial effects to health. Findings from this study support further development of this medicinal plant for potential pharmaceutical applications.

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