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Terpenes, Phenylpropanoids, Sulfur and Other Essential Oil Constituents as Inhibitors of Cholinesterases

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Essential oils constituents are a diverse family of low molecular weight organic compounds with comprehensive biological activity. According to their chemical structure, these active compounds can be divided into four major groups: terpenes, terpenoids, phenylpropenes, and "others". In addition, they may contain diverse functional groups according to which they can be classified as hydrocarbons (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and aliphatic hydrocarbons); oxygenated compounds (monoterpene and sesquiterpene alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, and other oxygenated compounds); and sulfur and/or nitrogen containing compounds (thioesters, sulfides, isothiocyanates, nitriles, and others).

Compounds that act as cholinesterase inhibitors still represent the only pharmacological treatment of Alzheimer´s disease. Numerous in vitro studies showed that some compounds, found in essential oils, have a promising cholinesterase inhibitory activity, such as α-pinene, δ-3-carene, 1,8-cineole, carvacrol, thymohydroquinone, α- and β-asarone, anethole, etc.

This review summarizes the most relevant research published to date on essential oil constituents and their acetylcholinesterase/butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory potential as well as their structure related activity, synergistic and antagonistic effects.
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Keywords: Terpenes; acetylcholinesterase; butyrylcholinesterase; phenylpropanoids; structureactivity relationship; sulfur volatiles; synergism

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: August 1, 2020

This article was made available online on May 9, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Terpenes, Phenylpropanoids, Sulfur and Other Essential Oil Constituents as Inhibitors of Cholinesterases".

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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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