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Styryl Lactones and Their Derivatives: Biological Activities, Mechanisms of Action and Potential Leads for Drug Design

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Nature is an inexhaustible source of natural compounds with interesting biological activities. Ingeneral, natural products are an important source of new compounds with a variety of structural arrangementsand singular properties. Styryl lactones are a group of secondary metabolites ubiquitous in the genusGoniothalamus that have demonstrated to possess interesting biological properties, in particularantiproliferative activity against cancer cells. In general, the cytotoxicity of styryl lactones appears to bespecific against cancer cells since insignificant effects of these compounds on normal cells are reported. Alarge body of evidence suggests that the antiproliferative activity of styryl lactones is associated with theinduction of apoptosis in target cells. In the first part of this review we discuss the biological activities ofstyryl lactones focusing on cancer cells, the causal agent of Chagas' disease and the vectors for yellow feverand human lymphatic filariasis. Structure-activity relationships are described in detail for ninety styryllactones. The last part describes the molecular targets of styryl lactones for inducing apoptosis, as well asimmunosuppressive and inflammatory processes. Overall, understanding how these compounds exert theiractivities in biological system is essential for future development and application of styryl lactones forhuman health.
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Keywords: Goniothalamus spp; Natural products; apoptosis; biological activities; cancer cells; lead compounds; styryl lactones

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Quimica,Instituto de Ciencias Exatas, UFMG, Campus-Pampulha, Belo Horizonte,MG, Brazil, 31270-901

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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