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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 432829, 7 pages
Research Article

Compounds from the Fruits of the Popular European Medicinal Plant Vitex agnus-castus in Chemoprevention via NADP(H):Quinone Oxidoreductase Type 1 Induction

1State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650204, China
2South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510650, China
3Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay Road, Hong Kong
4Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 S. Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
5School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, 7 Baptist University Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

Received 30 January 2013; Accepted 5 March 2013

Academic Editor: Ludger Beerhues

Copyright © 2013 Shenghong Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As part of our continuing efforts in the search for potential biologically active compounds from medicinal plants, we have isolated 18 compounds including two novel nitrogen containing diterpenes from extracts of the fruits of Vitex agnus-castus. These isolates, along with our previously obtained novel compound vitexlactam A (1), were evaluated for potential biological effects, including cancer chemoprevention. Chemically, the nitrogenous isolates were found to be two labdane diterpene alkaloids, each containing an α, β-unsaturated γ-lactam moiety. Structurally, they were elucidated to be 9α-hydroxy-13(14)-labden-16,15-amide (2) and 6β-acetoxy-9α-hydroxy-13(14)-labden-15,16-amide (3), which were named vitexlactams B and C, respectively. The 15 known isolates were identified as vitexilactone (4), rotundifuran (5), 8-epi-manoyl oxide (6), vitetrifolin D (7), spathulenol (8), cis-dihydro-dehydro-diconiferylalcohol-9-O-β-D-glucoside (9), luteolin-7-O-glucoside (10), 5-hydroxy-3,6,7, -tetramethoxyflavone (11), casticin (12), artemetin (13), aucubin (14), agnuside (15), β-sitosterol (16), p-hydroxybenzoic acid (17), and p-hydroxybenzoic acid glucose ester (18). All compound structures were determined/identified on the basis of 1D and/or 2D NMR and mass spectrometry techniques. Compounds 6, 8, 9, and 18 were reported from a Vitex spieces for the first time. The cancer chemopreventive potentials of these isolates were evaluated for NADP(H):quinone oxidoreductase type 1 (QR1) induction activity. Compound 7 demonstrated promising QR1 induction effect, while the new compound vitexlactam (3) was only slightly active.