J Syst Evol ›› 2008, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (5): 692-723.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1002.2008.07112

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A preliminary pharmacophylogenetic investigation in Schisandraceae

Li-Jia XU1,Hai-tao LIU1,Yong PENG1,Pei-Gen XIAO2   

  1. 1. Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100094, China
    2. Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100094, China
  • Received:2007-08-27 Published:2008-09-18

Abstract: The family Schisandraceae (Magnoliiadae) contains approximately sixty species which are disjunctly distributed in the southeast of Asia and North America. It was divided into two genera, Schisandra and Kadsura, represented by 29 species in China, 19 in Schisandra and 10 in Kadsura. This paper reviews current knowledge about the chemistry, ethnopharmacology and pharmacology of the family in an attempt to present a preliminary study into the pharmacophylogenetics of the family as a whole. Dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans (I) are considered to be the main chemical components of the family. Despite their traditionally recognized hepatoprotective function, they also exhibit anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-HIV potential. Those dibenzocyclooctadiene lignans (I) possessing hydroxyl or angeloyloxy groups at C-6 or C-9 in the ethylidene-cyclooctane ring tend to exhibit a higher anti-cancer activity. Spirobenzofuranoid dibenzocyclooctadienes (II), mostly present in Kadsura, contain a special tetrahydrofuran ring spanning the biphenyl linkage and these demonstrate particular anti-PAF activities. This supports the traditional use of Kadsura to improve blood circulation and "remove dampness". Spirobenzofuranoid dibenzocyclooctadienes (II) could be considered as the bioactive marker compounds in Kadsura and hence markers for assessing quality. The distribution of all known lignans in the family showed that Kadsura is rela-tively advanced in evolution. Cycloartanone triterpenes occur in both Schisandra and Kadsura. Those with the A-ring open (II) tend to exhibit greater anti-cancer and anti-HIV activity. 7/7/5/6 triterpene lactones (IV), showing strong cytotoxicity, have only recently been discovered in Kadsura longipedunculata and as such have potential as anticancer agents. Recently, novel nortriterpenoids possessing a unique skeleton were found in S. lancifolia and S. micrantha; some exhibited clear anti-cancer or anti-HIV activity and are the subject of separate studies.

Key words: chemotaxonomy, ethnopharmacology, pharmacophylogenetics, Schisandraceae