Biological activities of pyrrolidinoindoline alkaloids from Calycodendron milnei

H. E.A. Saad, S. H. El-Sharkawy, W. T. Shier

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28 Scopus citations


Certain genera of the tribe Psychotrieae, specifically Calycodendron and Psychotria, found on Pacific Islands, synthesize a series of N(b)-methyltryptamine-derived alkaloids made by linking together 2 to 8 pyrrolidinoindoline units. Nine alkaloids of this class have been isolated from the aerial parts and stem bark of Calycodendron milnei, a species endemic to the Vate Islands (New Hebrides), and examined for potential application as anti-cancer and anti-infective agents. All members of the series exhibited readily detected cytotoxic activity against proliferating and non-proliferating Vero African green monkey kidney cells in culture, with the most potent activity being exhibited by vatamine and quadrigemine C. Only hodgkinsine A exhibited substantial antiviral activity against a DNA virus, herpes simplex type 1, and an RNA virus, vesicular stomatitis virus. All members of the series showed readily detected anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-candidal activities using both tube dilution and disc diffusion assay methods. The most potent anti-microbial alkaloids were hodgkinsine A and quadrigemine C, which exhibited minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values as low as 5 μg/ml.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-316
Number of pages4
JournalPlanta Medica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 16 1995


  • Calycodendron milnei (A. Gray) A.C. Smith
  • Rubiaceae
  • anti-bacterial agent
  • anti-candidal agent
  • anti-fungal agent
  • antiviral agent
  • cytotoxicity
  • pyrrolidinoindoline alkaloids


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