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SRP. 2011; 2(2): 104-109

Annonaceous Acetogenins: The Unrevealed Area for Cytotoxic and Pesticidal Activities

Gupta A, Pandey S, Shah DR, Yadav JS, Seth NR.


The World Health Organization (WHO) redefined traditional medicine recently as comprising
therapeutic practices that have been in existence, often for hundreds of years, before
the development and spread of modern scientific medicine and are still in use today
(WHO, 1991).[1] Traditional healers have used the drugs of herbal, herbomineral, and animal origin
since the dawn of civilization to maintain health and treat disease. According to WHO, about 80%
of the world’s population use herbal drugs for their primary health care. These drugs are cheap
with no or less side effects. The Annonaceous acetogenins are C-32 or C-34 long-chain fatty
acids that have been combined with a 2- propanol unit at C-2 to form a terminal -unsaturated
-lactone. They often cyclize to form one, two, or three tetrahydrofuran or tetrahydopyran
rings near the middle of the alphabetic chain. To date, nearly 400 of these compounds have
been isolated from several genera of the plant family, Annonaceae. The potential application of
acetogenin molecules is linked to their marked properties: cytotoxic and antitumor (gigantecin,
bullatacin, and rolliniastatin) and pesticidal (asimicine and annonin). Biochemically, acetogenins
block mitochondrial respiration by inhibiting NADH-cytochrome-c oxidoreductase; this would
explain their pesticidal activity among others.

Key words: Annonaceae, Annonaceous acetogenins, Cytotoxic and pesticidal properties, NADH-cytochrome-c oxidoreductase inhibitor

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