Moujir, L., Callies, O., Sousa, P.M.C., Sharopov, F. & Seca, A.M.L. (2020) Applications of sesquiterpene lactones: a review of some potential success cases.Applied Sciences, 10(9), 1-32. DOI:10.3390/app10093001 (IF2020 2,679; Q3 Materials Science, Multidisciplinary)
Sesquiterpene lactones, a vast range of terpenoids isolated from Asteraceae species, exhibit a broad spectrum of biological effects and several of them are already commercially available, such as artemisinin. Here the most recent and impactful results of in vivo, preclinical and clinical studies involving a selection of ten sesquiterpene lactones (alantolactone, arglabin, costunolide, cynaropicrin, helenalin, inuviscolide, lactucin, parthenolide, thapsigargin and tomentosin) are presented and discussed, along with some of their derivatives. In the authors’ opinion, these compounds have been neglected compared to others, although they could be of great use in developing important new pharmaceutical products. The selected sesquiterpenes show promising anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects, acting on various targets. Moreover, they exhibit antifungal, anxiolytic, analgesic, and antitrypanosomal activities. Several studies discussed here clearly show the potential that some of them have in combination therapy, as sensitizing agents to facilitate and enhance the action of drugs in clinical use. The derivatives show greater pharmacological value since they have better pharmacokinetics, stability, potency, and/or selectivity. All these natural terpenoids and their derivatives exhibit properties that invite further research by the scientific community.