Planta Med 2008; 74(3): 233-238
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1034310
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Cardiovascular Effects of Lignans Isolated from Saururus chinensis

Kwang-Seok Oh1 , Yeon Hee Choi1 , Shi Yong Ryu1 , Byung Koo Oh1 , Ho Won Seo1 , Gyu Hwan Yon1 , Young Sup Kim1 , Byung Ho Lee1
  • 1Drug Discovery Division, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Daejeon, Korea
Further Information

Publication History

Received: August 19, 2007 Revised: January 11, 2008

Accepted: January 15, 2008

Publication Date:
18 February 2008 (online)


Saururus chinensis has been widely used as a traditional medicine for the treatment of beriberi, hypertension, pneumonia, edema, jaundice and gonorrhea. However, there is only limited information on the cardiovascular effects of S. chinensis extract or its single compounds. The present study was performed to investigate the effects of active lignans isolated from the extract of S. chinensis on vascular responses and heart functions. The vasorelaxant activity-guided fractionation of roots extract of S. chinensis led to the isolation of eight lignans as active principles. These lignans produced concentration-dependent relaxations of the endothelium-intact aortic preparations of rat aorta. Particularly, saucerneol (1), saucerneol D (2) and machilin D (8) exhibited distinctive vasorelaxant activity (EC50 values: 2.2, 12.7 and 17.8 μM, respectively), which were significantly inhibited by removal of functional endothelium or pretreatment with N G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester. Saucerneol (1) and saucerneol D (2) caused a significant decrease in left ventricular pressure, +dP/dtmax and heart rate in isolated hearts. These results suggest that several lignans including saucerneol (1), saucerneol D (2) and machilin D (8), isolated from the ethanol extract of the roots of S. chinensis, have significant cardiovascular effects such as vasorelaxant and negative inotropic actions.


CFR:coronary flow rate

HR:heart rate

L-NAME:N G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester

LVDP:left ventricular developed pressure

S. chinensis:Saururus chinensis

S. D. rats:Sprague-Dawley rats


  • 1 Knox J, Gaster B. Dietary supplements for the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease.  J Altern Complement Med. 2007;  13 83-95
  • 2 Kim M J, Lee H J, Wiryowidagdo S, Kim H K. Antihypertensive effects of Gynura procumbens extract in spontaneously hypertensive rats.  J Med Food. 2006;  9 587-90
  • 3 Kar P, Laight D, Shaw K M, Cummings M H. Flavonoid-rich grapeseed extracts: a new approach in high cardiovascular risk patients?.  Int J Clin Pract. 2006;  60 1484-92
  • 4 Cho H Y, Cho C W, Song Y S. Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of Saururus chinensis methanol extract in RAW 264.7 macrophages.  J Med Food. 2005;  8 190-7
  • 5 Sung S H, Kim Y C. Hepatoprotective diastereomeric lignans from Saururus chinensis herbs.  J Nat Prod. 2000;  63 1019-21
  • 6 Kubanek J, Fenical W, Hay M E, Brown P J, Lindquist N. Two antifeedant lignans from the freshwater macrophyte Saururus cernuus. .  Phytochemistry. 2000;  54 281-7
  • 7 Sadhu S K, Okuyama E, Fujimoto H, Ishibashi M. Separation of Leucas aspera, a medicinal plant of Bangladesh, guided by prostaglandin inhibitory and antioxidant activities.  Chem Pharm Bull. 2003;  51 95-8
  • 8 Hwang B Y, Lee J H, Nam J B, Hong Y S, Lee J J. Lignans from Saururus chinensis inhibiting the transcription factor NF-kappaB.  Phytochemistry. 2003;  64 765-71
  • 9 Hahm J C, Lee I K, Kang W K, Kim S U, Ahn Y J. Cytotoxicity of neolignans identified in Saururus chinensis towards human cancer cell lines.  Planta Med. 2005;  71 464-9
  • 10 Seo B R, Lee K W, Ha J, Park H J, Choi J W, Lee K T. Saucernetin-7 isolated from Saururus chinensis inhibits proliferation of human promyelocytic HL-60 leukemia cells via G0/G1 phase arrest and induction of differentiation.  Carcinogenesis. 2004;  25 1387-94
  • 11 Yoo M Y, Lee B H, Choi Y H, Lee J W, Seo J H, Oh K S. et al . Vasorelaxant effect of the rootbark extract of Paeonia moutan on isolated rat thoracic aorta.  Planta Med. 2006;  72 1338-41
  • 12 Jung Y S, Kim M Y, Kim M J, Oh K S, Yi K Y, Lee S. et al . Pharmacological profile of KR-33 028, a highly selective inhibitor of Na+/H+ exchanger.  Eur J Pharmacol. 2006;  535 220-7
  • 13 Sung S H, Huh M S, Kim Y C. New tetrahydrofuran-type sesquilignans of Saururus chinensis root.  Chem Pharm Bull. 2001;  49 1192-4
  • 14 Lee W S, Baek Y I, Kim J R, Cho K H, Sok D E, Jeong T S. Antioxidant activities of a new lignan and a neolignan from Saururus chinensis. .  Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2004;  14 5623-8
  • 15 Hwang B Y, Lee J H, Jung H S, Kim K S, Nam J B, Hong Y S. et al . Sauchinone, a lignan from Saururus chinensis, suppresses iNOS expression through the inhibition of transactivation activity of RelA of NF-kappaB.  Planta Med. 2003;  69 1096-101
  • 16 Hwang B Y, Lee J H, Nam J B, Hong Y S, Lee J J. Lignans from Saururus chinensis inhibiting the transcription factor NF-kappaB.  Phytochemistry. 2003;  64 765-71
  • 17 Yen M H, Chen S J, Wu C C. Comparison of responses to aminoguanidine and N omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester in the rat aorta.  Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1995;  22 641-5
  • 18 Triggle D J. L-type calcium channels.  Curr Pharm Des. 2006;  12 443-57
  • 19 Berkels R, Egink G, Marsen T A, Bartels H, Roesen R, Klaus W. Nifedipine increases endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability by antioxidative mechanisms.  Hypertension. 2001;  37 240-5
  • 20 Little W C, Cheng C P. Vascular versus myocardial effects of calcium antagonists.  Drugs. 1994;  47 41-5
  • 21 Raddino R, Pela G, Poli E, Mascaro F, Manca C, Visioli O. Different effects of captopril and other angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors on cardiovascular preparations.  Pharmacol Res. 1991;  24 163-74

Byung Ho Lee, PhD

Drug Discovery Division

Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology

100 Jangdong


Daejeon 305-343

Republic of Korea

Phone: +82-42-860-7415

Fax: +82-42-861-4246