J Syst Evol ›› 2008, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (4): 516-536.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1002.2008.07095

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A preliminary pharmacophylogenetic study of tribe Cimicifugeae (Ranunculaceae)

1 2Jing-Chun GAO; 1Yong PENG; 2 3Meng-Su YANG; 1Pei-Gen XIAO*   

  1. 1(Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100094, China)

    2(Shenzhen Research Institute, City University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen 518057, China)

    3(Department of Biology and Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)xiaopg@public.bta.net.cn
  • Received:2007-07-12 Published:2008-07-18

Abstract: The phylogeny, ethnopharmacology, pharmacology and chemical composition of the tribe Cimici-fugeae attributed to the family of Ranunculaceae as used in the North America, Europe and Asia, were reviewed and compared. Furthermore, the pharmacophylogenetics of Cimicifugeae was investigated. A survey of the avail-able literature showed that the main chemical constituents of these species are 9,19-cycloartane triterpenoid gly-cosides and the cinnamic acid derivates. In ethnopharmacology, plants of tribe Cimicifugeae were commonly used as antipyretic, antitoxic, anti-inflammation agents and utilized for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Recent pharmacology research demonstrated that some of these Cimicifugeae species showed antiosteoporosis, antivirus, anticancer, antiallergic and hormonal-like activities. According to our present research and the literature record for the chemical, pharmacological and phylogeny research of tribe Cimicifugeae, we proposed that Actaea and Cimi-cifuga have a close relationship because of their similarity in chemical constituents and medical use. Actaea and Cimicifuga together could be considered one clade of tribe Cimicifugeae, and Actaea is relatively advanced, considering its diagnostic and karyological characters. Beesia was independent in this tribe since beesioside type triterpenoids had never been found in Actaea and Cimicifuga species. Meanwhile, pentacyclic triterpenoids and beesioside type triterpenoids were both isolated from Beesia, as well as Souliea, but they have not been found in Cimicifuga and Actaea. Indolinone alkaloids were detected in either Souliea or Cimicifuga and Actaea. Therefore, Souliea should be intermediate between Beesia and Cimicifuga. There is a close relationship between the cycloar-tane triterpenoids constituents and the anti-toxic, anti-pyretic effect of tribe Cimicifugeae. Therefore, we proposed the cycloartane triterpenoids constituents to be a new resource of anti-tumor and anti-virus agents.

Key words: chemotaxonomy, Cimicifugeae, ethnopharmacology, pharmacophylogenetics, Ranunculaceae