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Seasonal variation in alkaloid composition and antiproliferative activity of Stylophorurn\ lasiocarpum (Oliv.) Fedde

Kristýna Šebrlová, Ondřej Peš, Iva Slaninová, Ondřej Vymazal, Jana Kantorová, and Eva Táborská

Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5, 62500, Brno, Czech Republic



Abstract: Stylophorum lasiocarpum (Oliv.) Fedde (Papaveraceae) belongs to traditional Chinese medicine herbs but there was minimal information on the content of alkaloids in this plant. Extracts from the aerial part and roots were examined by liquid chromatography with UV and mass spectrometric detection, with nineteen alkaloids identified. Changes in alkaloid content over the entire vegetation period of a one- and two-year old plant were studied. The protoberberine alkaloids, coptisine and stylopine, were found to be the main substances in extracts of the aerial part irrespective of the plant’s age and time of harvest. Variable amounts of protopine, sanguinarine, chelerythrine, chelirubine, macarpine, chelilutine and berberine were also recorded in the aerial part. The roots contained significantly larger quantities of all alkaloids than the aerial part with the levels of most alkaloids varying from May to October, peaking in the middle of the vegetation period. Coptisine was the dominant alkaloid in all samples. The antiproliferative activities of the root extract and of seven individual alkaloids were tested on A375 human malignant melanoma cells. The significant dose-dependent toxicity of the root extract was attributed largely to the quaternary benzo[c]phenanthridine alkaloids, macarpine and sanguinarine.

Keywords: Stylophorum lasiocarpum – traditional Chinese medicine – vegetation period – benzophenanthridine – LC MS – cytotoxicity

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1515/chempap-2015-0083


Chemical Papers 69 (5) 698–708 (2015)

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