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Pro‐toxic 1,2‐Dehydropyrrolizidine Alkaloid Esters, Including Unprecedented 10‐Membered Macrocyclic Diesters, in the Medicinally‐used Alafia cf. caudata and Amphineurion marginatum (Apocynaceae: Apocynoideae: Nerieae and Apocyneae)

Colegate, Steven M., Gardner, Dale R., Betz, Joseph M., Fischer, Ottmar W., Liede‐Schumann, Sigrid, Boppré, Michael
Phytochemical analysis 2016 v.27 no.5 pp. 257-276
Apocynaceae, acids, air drying, dissociation, esters, high performance liquid chromatography, insects, leaves, mass spectrometry, medicinal plants, methanol, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, plant extracts, retronecine, risk, roots, solid phase extraction, stems
INTRODUCTION: Within the Apocynoideae (Apocynaceae) pro‐toxic dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids have been reported only in Echiteae. However, attraction of pyrrolizidine alkaloid‐pharmacophagous insects suggested their presence in Alafia cf. caudata Stapf (Nerieae: Alafiinae) and Amphineurion marginatum (Roxb.) D.J. Middleton (Apocyneae: Amphineuriinae), both used as medicinal plants. OBJECTIVE: To confirm the presence of dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids in Alafia cf. caudata and Amphineurion marginatum and identify their structures. METHODS: Methanol extracts of air‐dried roots, stems and leaves of non‐flowering plants were analysed using HPLC‐ESI(+)MS and MS/MS or collision‐induced dissociation MS in low and/or high resolution modes. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids were tentatively identified based on the mass spectrometry data. Solid phase extraction combined with semi‐preparative HPLC were used to isolate major alkaloids. Structures were elucidated using NMR spectroscopy. RESULTS: Monoesters of retronecine with senecioic, hydroxysenecioic or syringic acids were identified in roots of Alafia cf. caudata. Two unprecedented 10‐membered macrocyclic dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloid diesters were isolated from roots of Amphineurion marginatum. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids were detected in root and leaf material of Alafia cf. caudata at 0.34 and 0.01% dry weight (DW), and 0.13, 0.02 and 0.09% DW in root, leaf and stem material of Amphineurion marginatum. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of pro‐toxic dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids suggests that medical preparations of these plants pose potential health risks to consumers. Dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids are evidently more widespread in Apocynoideae than previously assumed, and it would seem rewarding to study other members of this family for the presence of pyrrolizidines, dehydropyrrolizidines and dihydropyrrolizines. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.