Bioactivity-Guided Fractionation of Taxodium distichum

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The Ohio State University

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Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease with a high incidence of infection and, in some cases, the potential to be fatal. This disease is largely entrenched in poverty, making access to effective and inexpensive diagnoses, treatments, and disease control unattainable for countless infected individuals. The need for affordable, more effective, and less toxic treatments has led us to the preparation and testing of plant extracts for screening against L. donovani parasites. Fractionation of the cones of a North American plant, found on The Ohio State University (OSU) campus and identified at the herbarium of The Ohio State University Museum of Biological Diversity as Taxodium distichum Rich. (Cupressaceae), commonly termed the bald cypress, has led to the observation of in vitro and in vivo activity against L. donovani. Previous studies have shown that abietane-type diterpenes, such as taxodione, taxodone, and taxodistines A and B are the major compounds present in the cones of T. distichum. These compounds have previously been reported to have antitumor, antimicrobial, and antileishmanial activity, but unfortunately have also been found to be accompanied by serious undesired toxicity. The purpose of this study was to isolate an antileishmanial compound or compounds from this plant source, which resulted in the purification and identification of taxoquinone and sugiol. Further fractionation is being conducted for the isolation and identification of the particular chemical agent(s) responsible for the antileishmanial activity observed in the initial plant extract.


1st Place Winner at 2013 Denman Undergraduate Research Forum (Health Sciences - Laboratory/Cellular)
2nd Place Winner at the 2013 College of Pharmacy Research Day Forum


leishmaniasis, Taxodium distichum, fractionation, antileishmanial agents, natural products, pharmacognosy