The antiproliferative activities of n-hexane, chloroform, aqueous-methanol and aqueous extracts of the aerial parts of the Achillea millefolium aggregate on three human tumour cell lines were investigated by means of MTT assays. The chloroform-soluble extract exerted high tumour cell proliferation inhibitory activities on HeLa and MCF-7 cells, and a moderate effect on A431 cells; accordingly, it was subjected to detailed bioactivity-guided fractionation. As a result of the multistep chromatographic purifications (VLC, CPC, PLC, gel filtration), five flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, centaureidin, casticin and artemetin) and five sesquiterpenoids (paulitin, isopaulitin, psilostachyin C, desacetylmatricarin and sintenin) were isolated and identified by spectroscopic methods. The antiproliferative assay demonstrated that centaureidin is the most effective constituent of the aerial parts of yarrow: high cell growth inhibitory activities were observed especially on HeLa (IC50 0.0819 μM) and MCF-7 (IC50 0.1250 μM) cells. Casticin and paulitin were also highly effective against all three tumour cell lines (IC50 1.286-4.76 μM), while apigenin, luteolin and isopaulitin proved to be moderately active (IC50 6.95-32.88 μM). Artemetin, psilostachyin C, desacetylmatricarin and sintenin did not display antiproliferative effects against these cell lines. This is the first report on the occurrence of seco-pseudoguaianolides (paulitin, isopaulitin and psilostachyin C) in the Achillea genus.
- Achillea millefolium s.l.
- Antiproliferative activity
- Pseudoguaianolide sesquiterpenes
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