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Isosilybin A (1) is one of the major flavonolignans that constitute silymarin, an extract of the fruits (achenes) of milk thistle (Silybum marianum). The chemistry of the Silybum flavonolignans has been studied for over four decades, and the absolute configuration of 1 has been determined previously by electronic circular dichroism and X-ray crystallography via correlating the relative configuration of the phenylpropanoid moiety to the established absolute configuration of the 3-hydroxyflavanone portion of the molecule. Herein we report the X-ray crystallographic structure of the product of the reaction of 1 with 4-bromobenzoyl chloride, and, thus, the absolute configuration of 1 was established as (2R, 3R, 7″R, 8″R) directly via X-ray crystallography of an analogue that incorporated a heavy atom. The results were consistent with previously reported assignments and verified the absolute configuration of the diastereoisomer of 1, isosilybin B, and the related diastereoisomeric regioisomers, silybin A and silybin B.


Arlene A Sy-Cordero, Cynthia S Day, Nicholas H Oberlies. Absolute configuration of isosilybin A by X-ray crystallography of the heavy atom analogue 7-(4-Bromobenzoyl)isosilybin A. Journal of natural products. 2012 Nov 26;75(11):1879-81

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PMID: 23116206

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