Liliaceae (Agavaceae fide APG II)

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
June 2007

Camassia quamash ssp.
Siskiyou Co., Black Mt.,
of Yreka, CA
May 2007



Candra E., K. Matsunaga, H. Fujiwara, Y. Mimaki, Y. Sashida, T. Yamakuniand Y. Ohizumi. 2001. Two steroidal saponins from Camassia cusickii induce L1210 cell death through the apoptotic mechanism. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 79(11): 953958 Two steroidal saponins, tigogenin hexasaccharide-1 (TGHS-1, (25R)-5alpha-spirostan-3beta-yl 4-O-[2-0-[3-O-(alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-3-0-[4-0- (alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-3-D- galactopyranoside) and tigogenin hexasaccharide-2 (TGHS-2, (25R)-5alpha-spirostan-3beta-yl 4-O-[2-0-[3-0-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-3-0-[4-0- (alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]-beta-D-glucopyranosyl]beta-D-galactopyranoside), were isolated from the fresh bulbs of Camassia cusickii. In murine leukemic L1210 cells, both compounds showed cytotoxicity with an EC50 value of 0.06 microM. The morphological observation revealed that TGHS-1 and TGHS-2 induced shrinkage in cell soma and chromatin condensation, suggesting apoptotic cell death. The cell death was confirmed to be apoptosis by Annexin V binding to phosphatidylserine in the cell membrane and excluding propidium iodide. A typical apoptotic DNA ladder and the cleavage of caspase-3 were observed after treatment with TGHS-1 and TGHS-2. In the presence of both the compounds, cells with sub-G1 DNA content were detected by flow cytometric analysis, indicating that TGHS-1 and TGHS-2 (each EC50 value of 0.1 microM) are the most powerful apoptotic saponins known. These results suggest that TGHS-1 and TGHS-2 induce apoptotic cell death through caspase-3 activation.

Furuya S., F. Takayama, Y. Mimaki, Y. Sashida, K. Satoh and H. Sakagami. 2001. Cytotoxic activity of saponins from Camassia leichtlinii against human oral tumor cell lines. Anticancer Res. 21(2A): 959964. Five steroidal saponins from Camassia leichtlinii showed higher cytotoxicity against human oral squamous cell carcinoma cells HSC-2, as compared to normal human gingival fibroblasts HGF. The tumor specificity of saponins varied considerably from sample to sample, but was generally higher than that of tannins, flavonoids and prenylated compounds such as geranylgeraniol and vitamin K2 (MK-2). Agarose gel electrophoresis showed that the saponins failed to induce internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, but produced large DNA fragments in HSC-2 cells, whereas two saponin samples (compounds 1 and 5) induced internucleosomal DNA fragmentation in human promyelocytic leukemic HL-60 cells. In contrast to epigallocatechin gallate or gallic acid, the cytotoxic activity of saponins was not significantly affected by metals (Co2+, Cu2+, Fe3+) or by antioxidants (sodium ascorbate, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, catalase). Furthermore, the saponins did not produce radicals (detected by ESR spectroscopy) nor oxidation potential (measured by NO monitor). These data suggest that an oxidation-mediated mechanism is not involved in the cytotoxicity induced by the steroidal saponins.

Kuroda M., Y. Mimaki, F. Hasegawa, A. Yokosuka, Y. Sashida and H. Sakagami. 2001. Steroidal glycosides from the bulbs of Camassia leichtlinii and their cytotoxic activities.  Chem. Pharm. Bull. (Tokyo) 49(6): 726731. Phytochemical analysis of the bulbs of Camassia leichtlinii (Liliaceae) resulted in the isolation of six new spirostanol saponins, a new furostanol saponin, a cholestane glucoside, and four known steroidal saponins. The structures of the new saponins were determined by detailed analysis of their spectral data, including two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy, and by the results of hydrolytic cleavage. Cytotoxic activities of the isolated compounds against human oral squamous cell carcinoma (HSC-2) cells and normal human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) are also reported.

Mimaki Y., Y. Sashida and K. Kawashima. 1991. Steroidal saponins from the bulbs of Camassia cusickii.  Phytochemistry. 1991;30(11):37213727. Six new steroidal saponins have been isolated from the fresh bulbs of Camassia cusickii. Their structures were determined by spectroscopic analysis and some chemical transformations to be (25R)-5 alpha-spirostan-3 beta,6 alpha-diol (chlorogenin) 6-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, chlorogenin 6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1----2)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, chlorogenin 6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1----3)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, chlorogenin 6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1----2)-O-[beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1----3)]-beta- D-glucopyranoside, (25R)-6 alpha-hydroxy-5 alpha-spirostan-3-one 6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl- (1----3)-beta-D-glucopyranoside and (25R)-3,3-dimethoxy-5 alpha-spirostan-6 alpha-ol 6-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1----3)-beta-D-glucopyranoside. The saponins isolated were shown to contribute to the bitter taste of the bulbs.