Pharmaceutical interest

Psychoanaleptic property: The oil expressed from the seeds of Celas-trus paniculata Willd. given per os (50mg/Kg, 200mg/Kg or 400mg/Kg) to young adult rats for 14 days, completely reverses the scopolamine (0.5 mg/Kg)-induced impairment in a navigational memory test (Gattu M et a/., 1997). The same oil tested in a 2 compartment passive memory test improved the retention ability of albino rats. This effect is accompanied with a decrease in the brain content of nora-

Uses: In Burma, the seeds of Celastrus paniculata Willd. are used to invigorate health, and the leaves are used to counteract opium poisoning. In India, the leaves are used to promote menstruation, and the seeds are used to relieve the bowels of costiveness, produce venereal desire and stimulate the intellect. In Indonesia, the leaves are used to stop dysentery. In the Philippines, the pulverized seeds are used to treat rheumatism and paralysis, and to invigorate health. In Vietnam, the oil expressed from the seeds is used to treat beriberi.

drenaline, dopamine and serotonine

(Nalimi K etal., 1995). What is the active principle involved here? An alkaloid?

Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties: A methanolic extract of the flowers of Celastrus paniculata Willd. displays both analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties per os in the hot water immersion test using mice and inhibits the paw oedema induced by carrageenan in rats (Ahmad F et al., 1994). This anti-inflammatory property may involve a number of polyols or a number of flavonoids (anthocyanidins?) since both dulcitol (a hexahydric sugar alcohol) and (-)-epiafzelechin (a flavan-3-ol) characterized from Celastrus orbicula-tus Thumb. are anti-inflammatory. Dulcinol improves significantly the collagen-caused arthritis in mice with a T-cell modifying property (Kobayashi Y et al., 1997). (-)-Epiafzelechin inhibits dose-dependently cyclo-oxygenase with an IC50 of 15 |M and significantly reduces the paw oedema induced by carrageenan in mice at 100mg/Kg peros (Min KR et al., 1999).

Cytotoxic and antiviral properties: The plants classified within the genus Celastrus are interesting because they often contain cytotoxic and/or antiviral sesquiterpenes and triterpenes. Sesquiterpenes characterized from Celastrus stephanotrifolius inhibit the development of tumors at low doses (Takaishi Y et al., 1993). Maytenfolone A, a triterpene characterized from Celastrus hind-sii, destroys efficiently HEPA-2B cells (ED50: 2.3ig/mL) and KB cells (ED50: 3.8 ig/mL) cultured in vitro. B, another triterpene, celasdin B, inhibits the replication of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in H9 lymphocytes with an EC50 of 0.8 ig/mL (Kuo YH et al., 1997). Furthermore, a number of sesquiterpenes characterized from the roots of Celastrus orbiculatus partially or completely reverse the resistance of KB-V1 and MCF7/ADR cells to adriamycin, vinblastine and taxol (KimSE etal, 1998; 1999). It will be interesting to learn whether a more intensive study on Celastrus paniculata Willd. will disclose any terpenes of therapeutic interest.

Maytanfolone A (R=OH)

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