Efficiently prepared ephedrine alkaloids-free Ephedra Herb extract: a putative marker and antiproliferative effects
Journal of Natural Medicines July 2016, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 554–562 Naohiro Oshima
Ephedrine alkaloids (EAs) have been considered the main pharmacologically active substances in Ephedra Herb (麻黄, Mao; EH) since they were first identified by Prof. N. Nagai, and are known to induce palpitation, hypertension, insomnia, and dysuria as side effects. Therefore, the administration of drugs containing EH to patients with cardiovascular-related diseases is severely contraindicated. While our previous studies suggest that some of the effects of EH may not be due to EAs, considering their side effects would be expedient to develop a new EAs-free EH extract (EFE). Here, we established a preparation method for EFE and revealed its chemical composition, including the content of herbacetin, a flavonoid aglycon present in EH and a potential putative marker for EFE quality control. In addition, we showed the antiproliferative effects of EFE against the H1975 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line. EFE was prepared from EH extract using the ion exchange resin SK-1B. LC/Orbitrap MS analysis revealed the removal of EAs, 6-methoxykynurenic acid, and 6-hydroxykynurenic acid from the original extract. Quantitative analysis of herbacetin using LC/MS in acid-hydrolyzed EFE showed that its content was 0.104 %. Although several alkaloidal constituents were removed from EH extract, the antiproliferative effect of EFE against H1975 cells was comparable to that of EH extract.
These results indicate that EFE retained the anticancer effect of EH and demonstrated its potential for future development as a new herbal medicine with reduced side effects.
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