Author(s): Heilmann J, Wasescha MR, Schmidt TJ
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Abstract The biological activities of sesquiterpene lactones have been attributed to their reactivity with the cysteine residues of functional proteins forming covalent bonds via Michael type addition. In the present study we investigated the influence of different L-cysteine (cys) and glutathione (GSH) concentrations on the cytotoxicity of the sesquiterpene lactones (STLs) helenalin, 11alpha,13-dihydrohelenalin acetate and chamissonolide against KB cells. Due to the significantly higher reactivity of the alpha-methylene-gamma-lactone (ML) towards cys as compared with the cyclopentenone (CP) site at physiological pH, addition of 20, 50 and 100 molar equivalents of cys decreased the cytotoxicity of helenalin and chamissonolide, whereas the cytotoxicity of 11alpha,13-dihydrohelenalin acetate remained unaffected. In contrast, the influence of GSH addition on the cytotoxicity of 11alpha,13-dihydrohelenalin acetate depends on the concentration of GSH added. Concentration-effect curves obtained for chamissonolide and GSH resembled the decline in cytotoxicity after cys addition. Helenalin showed a biphasic shape of the concentration-effect curve for the 100:1 GSH/helenalin ratio resembling at higher doses the chamissonolide and in lower doses the 11alpha,13-dihydrohelenalin acetate curve at 50-fold excess. These results can be explained by the different reactivity and equilibrium conditions for thiol addition of the two reactive centers of bifunctional STLs in cellular test systems and verified a clear correlation between the different reactivity of their electrophilic centers and the observed biological effects in in-vitro cell systems.
This article was published in Bioorg Med Chem
and referenced in Organic Chemistry: Current Research