J Syst Evol ›› 2006, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (3): 241-257.DOI: 10.1360/aps040149

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

A pharmacophylogenetic study of the Berberidaceae (s.l.)

1PENG Yong, 1 2CHEN Si-Bao, 3LIU Yong, 1 2 CHEN Shi-Lin*, 1 2XIAO Pei-Gen*   

  1. 1 (Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100094, China)

    2 (State Key Laboratory of Pharmacy and Molecular Pharmacology Research of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
    Shenzhen 518057, China)

    3 (School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100102, China)
  • Received:2004-11-25 Published:2006-05-18

Abstract: This paper deals with the correlation between phylogeny, chemical constituents and pharmaceutical effectiveness of the Berberidaceae (s.l.), i.e. a pharmacophylogenetic study of the family. Our results support the circumscription of the family recently proposed by Wu Z-Y et al., who considered that the Berberidaceae (s.l.) should be treated as four independent families: Nandinaceae, Berberidaceae (s.s.), Podophyllaceae and Leonticaceae. Phytochemically the monotypic family Nandinaceae is characterized by containing a rich spectrum of benzylisoquinoline types of alkaloids, such as berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhi- zine, coptisine, magnoflorine, domesticine, nandinine and protopine. The existence of the cyanogenic compound nandinin, biflavonoid amentoflavone and benzaldehyde-4-O-glucoside in this family indicates its relatively distant relation with the other three families. Nandina indica, the only species of the Nandinaceae, has been ethnopharmacologically mainly used as medicines for clearing heat and counteracting toxins, or as antitussive. The Berberidaceae (s.s.), which consist of Berberis L. and Mahonia Nutt., contain mainly benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, e.g., berberine, palmatine, jatrorrhizine, columbamine, magnoflorine, particularly a higher content of biisobenzylquinoline alkaloids represented by berbamine and oxyacanthine. Ethnopharmacologically the plants in this family have been mainly used as medicines for clearing heat and counteracting toxins. In addition, plants in both Berberis and Mahonia have long been used as the main sources of the drugs berberine and berbamine. The Podophyllaceae can be divided into two tribes. The tribe Podophylleae, consisting of Podophyllum L. (including Sinopodophyllum Ying and Dysosma Woodson) and Diphylleia Michx., contains extensively various podophyllotoxin lignans, and the plants in this tribe have been used as the most important source for the manufacture of the anticancer drugs, i.e., podophyllotoxin's derivatives. Ethnopharmacologically, the plants have been mainly used as medicines for activating blood, revolving stasis, relieving swelling, removing toxin, and clearing heat. The tribe Epimedieae, consisting of Epimedium L., Vancouveria C. Morr. & Decne, Achlys DC., Jeffersonia Barton (Plagiorhegma Maxim.) and Ranzania T. Ito, has diversified chemical constituents. Both Epimedium and Vancouveria contain predominately bioactive icariin flavonoids, the characteristic chemical constituents of this group. Ethnopharmacologically the plants in Epimedium have been used as a male sexual tonic, and as medicines for dispelling wind and removing dampness. The phytochemistry of the remaining three genera Achlys, Jeffersonia and Ranzania has not been yet thoroughly investigated. Jeffersonia dubia has been used for the treatment of dysentery and eye pain caused by inflammation in the Korean minority nationality of northeast China. The Leonticaceae, including Gymnospermium Spach, Leontice L., Caulophyllum Michx and Bongardia C. A. Mey., phytochemically contain mainly β-amyrin triterpenoids and quinolizidine alkaloids, and have been used as medicines for activating blood, revolving stasis, dispelling wind and removing dampness. Decontaminated thianthrene disproportion. Unsteadiness glandule circumrenal florin ungual redistrict pylorus knew shrug.
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Key words: Berberidaceae, pharmacophylogenetic study, chemotaxonomy, phylogenetic relationship