Bioactive constituents from some medicinal resins of Commiphora species

Author(s): Aman Dekebo

Ethiopia is well known since ancient times as the original source of a variety of natural products such as civet, coffee, myrrh, frankincense, etc. In the international market myrrh enjoy high demand because of its extract that have been used as components of perfumes and aromatherapy and skin care products and other medicinal values. We are working on analysis of bioactive compounds from resins of Commiphora species collected from Ethiopia (namely C. myrrha, C. sphaerocarpa, C. erlangeriana Engl.and C. africana) and Kenya (C. confusa, C. holtziana and C. kataf ). At the same time we gathered ethnobotanical information on different parts of these species. We reported furanosesquiterpenes from myrrh (.resin of C. myrrha) and resin of C. sphaerocarpa. Furanoeudesma-1,3-diene the major compound from myrrh have analgesic activity in mice. Previously we reported oxygenated furanosesquiterpenes, curzerenone, and furanodienone from the resins of C. sphaerocarpa Chiov., C. holtziana Engl. and C. kataf. Furanodienone were reported to have anti-infl ammatory, antimicrobial and anticancer activities. Mansumbinone, mansumbinol, (16S, 20R)- dihydroxydammar-24-en-3-one and two octanordammarane triterpenes were isolated from the resin of C. kua. Mansumbinone possesses strong anti-infl ammatory activity. Cytotoxicity of nordammarane were also reported. The resins of C. confusa contain dammarane types of triterpenes which also exhibited moderate cytotoxic activity. From the resin of C. erlangeriana we reported bio-active polygamain-type lignans, named erlangerin A and erlangerin B, and two lignans related to podophyllotoxin, namely erlangerin C and erlangerin D. Recently, we reported a new tricyclic triterpene acid 3S,4S,14S,7E,17E,21Z)- 3,30-dihydroxypodioda-7,17,21-trien-4- carboxylic acid (commafric A) from the resin of Commiphora africana along with α-amyrin. Commafric A showed signifi cant anti-proliferative effects against non-small cell lung cancer (A549) with IC50 values of 4.52 μg/ml among four cancer cell lines tested which suggests that commafric A has a potential as a lead compound in the search for new drugs against cancer diseases.