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The synthesis of new ester derivatives of betulin (3a-c) and betulinic acid (4) with conjugated linoleic acid isomers (CLA; in a mixture of 43.4% 9c, 11t; 49.5% 10t, 12c; 7.1% other isomers) is presented. Esterification was carried out with N,N'-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) as the coupling agent in the presence of 4-dimethylamino-pyridine (DMAP) in dichloromethane (or pyridine). The in vitro cytotoxic effect of betulin (1), betulinic acid (2), a mixture of CLA isomers and their derivatives (3a-c, 4) was examined using the MTT assay against four cancer cell lines (P388, CEM/C2, CCRF/CEM and HL-60) and the SRB assay on the HT-29 cell line. Ester 4 was the most active among the esters synthesized against the CEM/C2 cell line with an ID50 value 16.9 +/- 6.5 microg/mL. Betulin (1), betulinic acid (2) and CLA were the most active agents against the cancer cell lines studied.


Barbara Tubek, Paweł Mituła, Natalia Niezgoda, Katarzyna Kempińska, Joanna Wietrzyk, Czesław Wawrzeńczyk. Synthesis and cytotoxic activity of new betulin and betulinic acid esters with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Natural product communications. 2013 Apr;8(4):435-8

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PMID: 23738445

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