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      Two new steroidal saponins isolated from Anemarrhena asphodeloides

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          Two new steroidal saponins, named timosaponin P ( 1) and timosaponin Q ( 2), were isolated from the rhizome parts of Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge using various chromatographic methods. Their structures and absolute configurations were elucidated by a combination of spectroscopic and spectrometric data, including 1D, 2D NMR, HR-ESI-MS and ECD calculations, and this is the first time the absolute configuration of C-23 of steroidal saponin was confirmed by ECD calculations.

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          Antioxidant properties in vitro and total phenolic contents in methanol extracts from medicinal plants

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            Timosaponin A-III induces autophagy preceding mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in HeLa cancer cells.

            Timosaponin A-III (TAIII), a saponin isolated from the rhizome of Anemarrhena asphodeloides, exhibits potent cytotoxicity and has the potential to be developed as an anticancer agent. Here, we provide evidence that TAIII induces autophagy in HeLa cells followed by apoptotic cell death. TAIII-induced autophagy was morphologically characterized by the formation of membrane-bound autophagic vacuoles recognizable at the ultrastructural level. TAIII-treated cells expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) displayed punctate fluorescence indicative of LC3 recruitment to the autophagosome. This was associated with the conversion of LC3-I (the cytosolic form) into LC3-II (the lipidated form located on the autophagosome membrane). TAIII treatment also induced mitochondrial dysfunction involving overproduction of reactive oxygen species and reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential accompanied by induction of mitochondrial permeability transition. Prolonged exposure to TAIII resulted in cytochrome c release and caspase-3 activation, events that signified the onset of apoptotic cell death. TAIII-induced autophagy preceded apoptosis, as evidenced by early autophagic vacuole formation, GFP-LC3 translocation, and LC3-II increase in the absence of caspase-3 cleavage. Notably, TAIII-mediated apoptotic cell death was potentiated by treatment with autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine or small interfering RNA against the autophagic gene beclin 1. These findings suggest that TAIII-elicited autophagic response plays a protective role that impedes the eventual cell death. In terms of structure-activity relationship, the sugar chain in TAIII is indispensable to the drug action, as the sugar-lacking aglycone sarsasapogenin did not induce autophagy and exhibited weaker cytotoxicity.
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              Cytotoxic and antineoplastic activity of timosaponin A-III for human colon cancer cells.

              The potential antitumor activity of timosaponin A-III (1), a steroidal saponin from the rhizomes of Anemarrhena asphodeloides, was investigated in human colorectal cancer HCT-15 cells both in cell culture and in an in vivo murine xenograft model. Compound 1 inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells with cell-cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis. Cell-cycle arrest in the G0/G1 and G2/M phase by 1 was correlated with the down-regulation of cyclin A, cyclin B1, cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2), CDK4, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and c-Myc. The increase of the sub-G1 peak by 1 was also closely related to the induction of apoptosis, which was evidenced by the induction of DNA fragmentation, activation of caspases, induction of cleaved poly-(ADP ribose) polymerase, and suppression of Bcl-xL and Bcl-2 expression. In an in vivo xenograft model, treatment with 1 (2 or 5 mg/kg body weight, three times/week, ip administration) for four weeks significantly suppressed tumor growth in athymic nude mice bearing HCT-15 cells, without any overt toxicity. Cell-cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis might be plausible mechanisms of actions for the observed antineoplastic activity of 1.

                Author and article information

                Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines
                20 March 2017
                : 15
                : 3
                : 220-224
                1State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, Department of Natural Medicinal Chemistry, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China
                Author notes
                *Corresponding author: HUANG Xue-Feng, Tel: 86-25-85301528, E-mail: hxf@ 123456cpu.edu.cn

                These authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

                Copyright © 2017 China Pharmaceutical University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
                Funded by: National Natural Science Foundation of China
                Award ID: 81573560
                Funded by: National Training Programs of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Undergraduates
                Award ID: G12123
                This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81573560) and the National Training Programs of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Undergraduates (No. G12123).


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