Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Three new alkaloids found in winter snowdrop plants

Date:
January 4, 2010
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
Scientists have identified 17 bioactive compounds in winter snowdrops, the earliest flowering plants in Europe. Out of the alkaloids identified, three are new to science and belong to a group with potential applications in treating malaria and Alzheimer's disease.

Winter snow drop. A team of researchers from the University of Barcelona has identified 17 bioactive compounds in winter snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus elwesii), the earliest flowering plants in Europe.
Credit: Dave F.

A team of researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) has identified 17 bioactive compounds in winter snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus elwesii), the earliest flowering plants in Europe. Out of the alkaloids identified, three are new to science and belong to a group with potential applications in treating malaria and Alzheimer's disease.

"We have obtained three new alkaloids that had not previously been identified in nature," Jaume Bastida, co-author of the study and director of the UB's Department of Natural Products, Plant Biology and Edaphology, said. These nitrogenated organic compounds, which are extracted from plants or obtained through chemical synthesis, cause "notable" physiological reactions, meaning that some of them can be used for therapeutic purposes.

The researchers obtained 10 alkaloids from the winter snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), a bulbous plant that flowers in the snows of midwinter, and another seven from the Galanthus elwesii species, which originates in the Caucasus. Of the 17 alkaloids identified, three are new two sciences, and two obtained from G. nivalis are "haemantamines," while a third isolated in G. elwesii is a "licorine," according to an article in the journal Planta Medica.

The haemantamine-type alkaloids can cause highly selective apoptosis (programmed cell death involved in the control of development and growth). Some licorine derivatives, meanwhile, have anti-malarial action and can inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (which helps to degrade the neurotransmitter acetylcholine), meaning it has potential applications in treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Several alkaloids found in Amaryllidaceae, the botanical family to which these two plants belong, are acetylcholinesterase (ACE) inhibitors, such as galantamin e, a substance that has already been patented, and which is used to treat mild to moderate cases of Alzheimer's disease. These patients have reduced levels of acetylcholine, but galantamine maintains its levels in the brain, blocking the action of the ACE. "In addition, it can act on nicotine receptors too, releasing greater amounts of acetylcholine, meaning it has a dual mechanism," adds Bastida.

The researcher points out, however, that the patent for galantamine "doesn't include just the compound itself, but also almost any of its derivatives, meaning it is difficult for any subsequent patent to include any derivatives from this class of compounds."

The samples used to carry out this research were collected at various sites in Bulgaria with the "explicit permission" of the relevant authorities, as these are protected species in the country

Picking winter snowdrops is also regulated in Spain, although Bastida says that "in cases where we need to study protected bulbous species such as these we first micropropagate them in vitro and later grow them in the conventional way in order to limit any impact on natural populations, as far as is possible."

Journal reference: Strahil Berkov, Marνa Cuadrado, Edison Osorio, Francesc Viladomat, Carles Codina y Jaume Bastida. Planta Medica 75 (12): 1351-1355, 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Three new alkaloids found in winter snowdrop plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091220175319.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2010, January 4). Three new alkaloids found in winter snowdrop plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091220175319.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Three new alkaloids found in winter snowdrop plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091220175319.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins