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Study looks at the biologicical activity of Picrasma javanica


In this study, researchers from Japan and Myanmar analyzed the phytochemical composition and biological properties of Picrasma javanica, also known as quassia wood. They reported their findings in an article published in the Journal of Natural Medicines.

  • P. javanica is a medium-sized tree from the Simaroubaceae family that is widely distributed in tropical Asia.
  • In their previous study, the researchers isolated quassinoids from the bark of P. javanica collected in Myanmar and evaluated their anti-proliferative activities.
  • To continue their investigation into the bioactive compounds present in medicinal plants in Myanmar, the researchers analyzed the chloroform-soluble portion of the methanol extract of P. javanica wood.
  • They isolated seven known compounds and two new quassinoids, (16R)-methoxyjavanicin B and (16S)-methoxyjavanicin B, whose structures were elucidated via spectroscopy.
  • A cytotoxicity assay revealed that one of the seven compounds has moderate activities against human lung (A549), breast (MCF7) and cervical (HeLa) cancer cells, with IC50 values ranging from 48.6 to 65.9 microMolar.
  • Meanwhile, the antibacterial assay revealed that the two new quassinoids had the highest activities among the P. javanica wood extracts, with MIC of 1.6 microMolar each against the Gram-positive bacterium, Bacillus subtilis.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that P. javanica is a potential source of anti-cancer and antibacterial compounds.

Journal Reference:

Prema, Wong CP, Nugroho AE, Awouafack MD, Win YY, Win NN, Ngwe H, Morita H, Morita H. TWO NEW QUASSINOIDS AND OTHER CONSTITUENTS FROM PICRASMA JAVANICA WOOD, AND THEIR BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES. Journal of Natural Medicines. 21 February 2019;73(3):589–596. DOI: 10.1007/s11418-018-01279-z

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