Bioassays in Natural Product Research – Strategies and Methods in the Search for Anti-inflammatory and Antimicrobial Activity

Authors

  • Adam A. Strömstedt,

    1. Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Jenny Felth,

    1. Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Lars Bohlin

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
    • Correspondence to: L. Bohlin, Division of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Uppsala University, BMC Box 574, SE-751 23 Uppsala. E-mail: lars.bohlin@fkog.uu.se

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ABSTRACT

Introduction

Identifying bioactive molecules from complex biomasses requires careful selection and execution of relevant bioassays in the various stages of the discovery process of potential leads and targets.

Objective

The aim of this review is to share our long-term experience in bioassay-guided isolation, and mechanistic studies, of bioactive compounds from different organisms in nature with emphasis on anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity.

Methods

In the search for anti-inflammatory activity, in vivo and in vitro model combinations with enzymes and cells involved in the inflammatory process have been used, such as cyclooxygenases, human neutrophils and human cancer cell lines. Methods concerning adsorption and perforation of bacteria, fungi, human cells and model membranes, have been developed and optimised, with emphasis on antimicrobial peptides and their interaction with the membrane target, in particular their ability to distinguish host from pathogen.

Results

A long-term research has provided experience of selection and combination of bioassay models, which has led to an increased understanding of ethnopharmacological and ecological observations, together with in-depth knowledge of mode of action of isolated compounds.

Conclusion

A more multidisciplinary approach and a higher degree of fundamental research in development of bioassays are often necessary to identify and to fully understand the mode of action of bioactive molecules with novel structure–activity relationships from natural sources. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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