2006 Volume 54 Issue 7 Pages 1017-1021
Bioguided fractionation of the methanol extract of Momordica charantia dried gourds led to the isolation of three new cucurbitane triterpenoids (1—3), together with eight known compounds (4—11). The aglycone of momordicoside I was isolated from the ether soluble fraction in a high amount. The structures of the metabolites were established on the basis of one and two dimensional NMR spectroscopic evidence, X-ray analysis, and comparison with the reported data in the literature. A number of phytochemicals have been isolated from Momordica charantia but the constituents responsible for the hypoglycaemic/antihyperglycaemic activities have not been determined. Therefore, in order to evaluate the contribution of the cucurbitane triterpenoids of the ether fraction of M. charantia methanol extract to in vivo anti-diabetic effects, the major compounds, 5β,19-epoxy-3β,25-dihydroxycucurbita-6,23(E)-diene (4), and 3β,7β,25-trihydroxycucurbita-5,23(E)-dien-19-al (5) have been tested and have shown blood hypoglycaemic effects in the diabetes-induced male ddY mice strain at 400 mg/kg. The two aglycones of charantin did not show any hypoglycaemic effects. Our finding is the first demonstration that major pure cucurbutanoid compounds of M. charantia have in vivo hypoglycaemic effects.