Planta Med 1996; 62(6): 491-494
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-957955

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Benzophenanthridine Alkaloids of Chelidonium majus; II. Potent Inhibitory Action Against the Growth of Human Keratinocytes

Ctirada Vavrečková1 , Ingo Gawlik2 , Klaus Müller2
  • 1Institute of Medical Chemistry, Palacký University, Hnêvotínská 3, 77515 Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • 2Institute of Pharmacy, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 31, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany
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Publication History



Publication Date:
04 January 2007 (online)


The benzophenanthridine alkaloids sanguinarine and chelerythrine of Chelidonium majus, L. (Papaveraceae), were tested for their action against the growth of human keratinocytes. Cell proliferation was independently determined by directly counting the cells and in the colorimetric MTT assay. Sanguinarine potently inhibited cell growth with an IC50 of 0.2 µM. Chelidonine, the main alkaloid of Ch. majus, was much less efficient. The extract of the herb of Ch. majus was also effective with an IC50 of 1.9 µM, calculated on the basis of its alkaloid content in terms of chelidonine. Keratinocytes were further tested for their susceptibility for the action of sanguinarine and chelerythrine on plasma membrane integrity, which resulted in a twofold increase in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity as compared to controls. On the other hand, the activity of the extract of the herb of Ch. majus was due to cytostatic rather than cytotoxic effects, as LDH release was unchanged as compared to controls.