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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 717232, 6 pages
Research Article

Acetylcholinesterase and Butyrylcholinesterase Inhibitory Activities of β-Carboline and Quinoline Alkaloids Derivatives from the Plants of Genus Peganum

1Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1200 Cailun Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Shanghai 201210, China
2The MOE Key Laboratory for Standardization of Chinese Medicines and The SATCM Key Laboratory for New Resources and Quality Evaluation of Chinese Medicines, Shanghai 201210, China
3Shanghai R&D Center for Standardization of Chinese Medicines, Shanghai 201210, China

Received 29 June 2012; Accepted 29 January 2013

Academic Editor: A. Hamid A. Hadi

Copyright © 2013 Ting Zhao 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.


It was reported that the main chemical constituents in plants of genus Peganum were a serial of β-carboline and quinoline alkaloids. These alkaloids were quantitatively assessed for selective inhibitory activities on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) by in vitro Ellman method. The results indicated that harmane was the most potent selective AChE inhibitor with an IC50 of 7.11 ± 2.00 μM and AChE selectivity index (SI, IC50 of BChE/IC50 of AChE) of 10.82. Vasicine was the most potent BChE inhibitor with feature of dual AChE/BChE inhibitory activity, with an IC50 versus AChE/BChE of 13.68 ± 1.25/2.60 ± 1.47 μM and AChE SI of 0.19. By analyzing and comparing the IC50 and SI of those chemicals, it was indicated that the β-carboline alkaloids displayed more potent AChE inhibition but less BChE inhibition than quinoline alkaloids. The substituent at the C7 position of the β-carboline alkaloids and C3 and C9 positions of quinoline alkaloids played a critical role in AChE or BChE inhibition. The potent inhibition suggested that those alkaloids may be used as candidates for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The analysis of the quantitative structure-activity relationship of those compounds investigated might provide guidance for the design and synthesis of AChE and BChE inhibitors.