• Enhancement of the antiplasmodial activity of quassin by transformation into a gamma-lactone.

      Wright, Colin W.; Kirby, G.C; Phillipson, J.D; Warhurst, D.C.; Lang'at-Thoruwa, C.; Watt, R.A. (2003)
      The naturally occurring bitter principle quassin (1) was converted chemically into the gamma-lactone quassilactone (13) in an attempt to enhance its antiplasmodial activity. The in vitro antiplasmodial activity of 13 against Plasmodium falciparum (K1) (IC(50) = 23 microM) was 40-fold greater than that of 1. However, one of the intermediates, compound 8, the 15beta-hydroxy,16-O-m-chlorobenzoyl analogue of 1, was 506-fold more active than 1 against P. falciparum (IC(50) = 1.8 microM) and only 3-fold less potent than chloroquine. In addition, 8 displayed the best cytotoxic/antiplasmodial ratio (112) of all of the compounds tested. In the course of this work a dimer, neoquassin ether (6), linked at C-16 was also prepared; 6 was found to have weak antiplasmodial activity (IC(50) = 9.7 microM).