Planta Med 1994; 60(5): 434-437
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-959526

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Cytotoxicity of Flavonoids and Sesquiterpene Lactones from Arnica Species Against the GLC4 and the COLO 320 Cell Lines

Herman J. Woerdenbag1 , Irmgard Merfort2 , Claus M. Paßreiter2 , Thomas J. Schmidt2 , Günter Willuhn2 , Wim van Uden1 , Niesko Pras1 , Harm H. Kampinga3 , Antonius W. T. Konings3
  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Biology, University Centre for Pharmacy, University of Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 2, NL-9713 AW Groningen, The Netherlands
  • 2Institut für Pharmazeutische Biologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Universitätsstraße 1, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Federal Republic of Germany
  • 3Department of Radiobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Groningen, Bloemsingel 1, NL-9713 BZ Groningen, The Netherlands
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Publication History



Publication Date:
04 January 2007 (online)


The cytotoxicity of 21 flavonoids and 5 sesquiterpene lactones, as present in Arnica species, was studied in GLC4, a human small cell lung carcinoma cell line, and in COLO 320, a human colorectal cancer cell line, using the microculture tetrazolium (MTT) assay. Following continuous incubation, most flavonoids showed moderate to low cytotoxicity, as compared with the reference compound cisplatin (IC50 = 1.1 nM against GLC4 and 2.9 µM against COLO 320). Their IC50 values varied from 17 to >200 µM. The most toxic compound was the flavone jaceosidin. Of the sesquiterpene lactones tested, helenalin, possessing both the reactive α-methylene-γ-lactone moiety and a reactive α,β-unsubstituted cyclopentenone ring, displayed the strongest cytotoxicity. For 2 h exposure, its IC50 value was 0.44 µM against GLC4 and 1.0 µM against COLO 320. COLO 320 was more sensitive than GLC4 for many flavonoids (especially for flavones), but more resistant to the cytotoxic effect of the sesquiterpene lactones bearing an exocylic methylene group fused to the lactone function.