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THE PHARMA REVIEW (SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2012)

Cucurbitacins and Bottle Gourd Toxicity

Sharada L Deore1, Anjali Parab1, Bhushan A Baviskar1, S. S. Khadabadi2

Introduction:
 
The cucurbitacins are a group of tetracyclic triterpenoids derived from the cucurbitane skeleton and found primarily in the Cucurbitaceae family including Brassicaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Begoniaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Datiscaceae, Desfontainiaceae, Polemoniaceae, Primulaceae, Rubiaceae, Sterculiaceae, Rosaceae, and Thymelaeaceae. These triterpenoids, present in free or glycosidic form, are generally responsible for the bitter taste of the plants. Several plants used in traditional medicine to treat both inflammatory diseases as well as various types of tumors are rich in cucurbitacins1. cucurbitacin B inhibits the growth of numerous human cancer cell lines and tumor xenografts, including breast, prostate, lung, uterine cervix, liver, skin, and brain cancers by suppressesing the activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription3 (STAT3). STAT3, originally identified as an important regulator of lymphocyte interferon-mediated gene transcription, is constitutively activated in many cancers. Cucurbitacins also have antihelminthic, anti-hepatitis, Immunopotentiating, antimicrobial and antigibberellin activities2-4. In the present review, we provide a compilation of all the studies published in the last ten years on cucurbitacins, focusing principally on their toxicological properties exhibited by bottle gourd5.

 

 

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