A new alkaloid isolated from leaves of Carthamus tinctorius

ZHANG Dong-bo1 SUN Chen1 LIU Hong-bo1 ZHANG Yan-lei1 LI Shi-ying1 WANG Ming-geng2 REN Zhen-li2 SONG Zhong-xing1 TANG Zhi-shu

(1.Shaanxi Collaborative Innovation Center of Chinese Medicinal Resource Industrialization, Shaanxi Key Laboratory of New Drugs and Chinese Medicine Foundation Research, Shaanxi Rheumatism and Tumor Center of TCM Engineering Technology Research, Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, Xianyang, China 712083)
(2.Shangdong Buchang Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., Heze, China 274000)

【Abstract】 Objective To study the alkaloids from leaves of Carthamus tinctorius. Methods The alkaloids were isolated and purified by silica gel, MCI, Sephadex LH-20 column chromatographies, and semi-preparative HPLC, and their structures were elucidated by physical and spectroscopic analysis. Results A new β-carboline alkaloid, 4,9-dimethoxy-1-ethyl-β-carboline (1) along with one known analogue 4-methoxy-1-ethyl-β-carboline (2), were isolated from the leaves of C. tinctorius. Compounds 1 and 2 showed the cytotoxicity against HepG2 cell lines with IC50 values of (15.20 ± 0.58) μmol/L and (17.40 ± 0.33) μmol/L, respectively. Conclusion Compounds 1 and 2 are firstly obtained from Carthamus genus, and compound 1 is a new compound, named carthine A. Both compounds 1 and 2 exhibited cytotoxicity against HepG2 cell lines.

【Keywords】 Carthamus tinctorius L.; carthine A; 4-methoxy-1-ethyl-β-carboline; β-carboline alkaloids; cytotoxicity;


【Funds】 Shaanxi Natural Science Basic Research Foundation (2017SF-365) Special Funds of the Natural Science of Shaanxi Provincial Department of Education (16JK1196)

Download this article


    [1] Editorial Committee of the Flora of China of Chinese Academy of Science. Flora of China [M]. Beijing: Science Press, 1983 (in Chinese).

    2] Liu J, Li J W, Qiao Y F, et al. Research advance on clinical application of safflower [J]. Medical Research and Education, 2015, 32 (3): 91–94 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    [3] Asgarpanah J, Kazemivash N. Phytochemistry, pharmacology and medicinal properties of Carthamus tinctorius L. [J]. Chin J Integr Med, 2013, 19 (2): 153–159.

    [3] Asgarpanah J, Kazemivash N. Phytochemistry, pharmacology and medicinal properties of Carthamus tinctorius L. [J]. Chin J Integr Med, 2013, 19 (2): 153–159.

    [5] Zhou F R, Zhao M B, Tu P F. Simultaneous determination of four nucleosides in Carthamus tinctorius L. and safflower injection using high performance liquid chromatography [J]. J Chin Pharmaceut Sci, 2009, 18 (4): 326–330.

    [6] Liu Y, Xue J, Han J, et al. Polyacetylenes from the florets of Carthamus tinctorius and their cytotoxicity [J]. Phytochem Lett, 2018, 23: 168–171.

    [7] Xiao Y H, Cui M, Li Y Y. Chemical constituents of Safflower carthamus [J]. Journal of Wuhan Institute of Technology, 2014, 36 (3): 15–17 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    [8] Fan L, Zhao H Y, Xu M, et al. Qualitative evaluation and quantitative determination of 10 major active components in Carthamus tinctorius L. by high–performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detector [J]. J Chromatogr A, 2009, 1216 (11): 2063–2070.

    [9] Ohmoto T, Koike K. Studies on the constituents of Picrasma quassioides Bennet. Ⅱ. On the alkaloidal constituents [J]. Chem Pharm Bull, 1983, 31 (9): 3198–3204.

    [10] Lee J J, Oh C H, Yang J H, et al. Cytotoxic alkaloids from the wood of Picrasma quassioides [J]. J Korean Soc Appl Biol Chem, 2009, 52 (6): 663–667.

    [11] Chen M, Fan H Y, Dai S J, et al. Alkaloids from twigs and leaves of Picrasma quassioides [J]. Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drug, 2007, 38 (6): 807–810 (in Chinese with English abstract).

    [12] Hu Q F, Zhou B, Ye Y Q, et al. Cytotoxic deoxybenzoins and diphenylethylenes from Arundina graminifolia [J]. J Nat Prod, 2013, 76 (10): 1854–1859.

This Article



Vol 50, No. 01, Pages 22-24

January 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and instruments
  • 2 Extraction and isolation
  • 3 Structural identification
  • 4 Cytotoxicity
  • References