Philippine Science Letters
vol. 5 | no. 1 | 2012
published online March 9, 2012


Cytotoxic Isothiocyanates from Moringa oleifera Lam Seeds

by Consolacion Y. Ragasa1,*, Ruel M. Levida1, Ming-Jaw Don2 and Chien- Chang Shen2

1 Chemistry Department and Center for Natural Sciences and Ecological Research,
   De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila 1004, Philippines
2 National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine, 155-1, Li-Nong St., Sec. 2,
   Taipei 112, Taiwan



The dichloromethane extract of the freeze-dried seeds of Moringa oleifera Lam afforded 4-(4'-O-acetyl-α-L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate (1), 4-(α-L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate (2), squalene (3) and sitosterol (4). The dichloromethane extract of the air-dried leaves of M. oleifera afforded polyprenol (5), phytyl fatty acid ester (6) and lutein (7). The structures of 1 and 2 were elucidated by extensive 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy, while those of 3-7 were identified by comparison of their 13C NMR data with those reported in the literature.

Isothiocyanates 1 and 2 were evaluated for cytotoxicity against the human cancer cell lines, non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma (A549) and colon carcinoma (HCT 116), and the non-cancer cell line Chinese hamster ovary cells (AA8) using the MTT cytotoxicity assay. Compounds 1 and 2 were cytotoxic against A549 with IC50 values of 10 and 12 µM, respectively, while the positive control, Doxorubicin gave an IC50 value of 4 µM. Isothiocyanates 1 and 2 were also cytotoxic against HCT 116 with IC50 values of 12 and 11 µM, respectively while Doxorubicin exhibited an IC50 value of 3 µM. Compounds 1, 2 and Doxorubicin were also cytotoxic against AA8 with IC50 values of 22, 15 and 4 µM, respectively.

*Corresponding author
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Submitted: September 22, 2011
Revised: October 21, 2011
Accepted: December 27, 2011
Published: March 9, 2012
Editor-in-charge: Irene M. Villaseņor
Irene M. Villaseņor
Gisela P. Padilla-Concepcion