Planta Med 2000; 66(2): 127-133
DOI: 10.1055/s-2000-11135
Original Paper
Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Hepatoprotective Effect of Apocynum venetum and its Active Constituents

Quangbo Xiong, Wenzhe Fan, Yasuhiro Tezuka, I Ketut Adnyana, Pavlos Stampoulis, Masao Hattori, Tsuneo Namba, , Shigetoshi Kadota*
  • Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama, Japan
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
31 December 2000 (online)


The leaves of Apocynum venetum L. are used as a tea material in north China and Japan. A water extract (500 mg/kg/day, one week administration) of the leaves of A. venetum showed protective effects against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4, 30 μl/mouse) or D-galactosamine (D-GalN, 700 mg/kg)/lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 20 μg/kg)-induced liver injury in mice. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) secreted from LPS-stimulated macrophages is the most crucial mediator in the D-GalN/LPS-induced liver injury model. The extract had no significant inhibition on the increase of serum TNF-α (1169 } 132 pg/ml vs. 1595 } 314 pg/ml of control), but exhibited a complete inhibition at the concentration of 100 μg/ml on TNF-α (100 ng/ml)-induced cell death in D-GalN (0.5 mM)-sensitized mouse hepatocytes. Further activity-guided fractionation resulted in the isolation of fifteen flavonoids viz. (−)-epicatechin (1), (−)-epigallocatechin (2), isoquercetin (3), hyperin (4), (+)-catechin (5), (+)-gallocatechin (6), kaempferol-6 Œ-O-acetate (7), isoquercetin-6 Œ-O-acetate (8), catechin-[8,7-e]-4α-(3,4-dihydroxpyhenyl)-dihydro-2(3H)-pyranone (9), apocynin B (10), apocynin A (11), cinchonain Ia (12), apocynin C (13), apocynin D (14) and quercetin (15). All the compounds showed inhibitory effects on TNF-α-induced cell death with different intensities. The flavonol glycosides 3, 4, 7 and 8 and the phenylpropanoid-substituted flavan-3-ols 11 and 12 showed potent inhibitory effects on TNF-α-induced cell death with IC50 values of 37.5, 14.5, 31.2, 55.1, 71.9 and 41.2 μM, respectively. In contrast, the clinically used 5 and its analogues 1, 2 and 6 showed apparent activity only at 80 μM. These flavonoids appeared to be the hepatoprotective principles of the leaves of A. venetum. The hepatoprotective effects exhibited by the extract and its constituents suggest a validation of the leaves as a tea material.


Av:water extract of the leaves of Apocynum venetum

CCl4:carbon tetrachloride



TNF-α:tumor necrosis factor-α

ALT:alanine aminotransferase

MTT:3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide

ROIs:reactive oxygen species


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Dr. Professor Shigetoshi Kadota

Institute of Natural Medicine

Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University

2630 Sugitani

Toyama 930-0194



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