Bufadienolides of Kalanchoe species: an overview of chemical structure,
biological activity and prospects for pharmacological use.
Kolodziejczyk-Czepas J(1), Stochmal A(2).
(1)Department of General Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology and Environmental
Protection, University of Lodz, Pomorska 141/143, 90-236 Lodz, Poland.
(2)Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation,
State Research Institute, Czartoryskich 8, 24-100 Pulawy, Poland.
Toad venom is regarded as the main source of bufadienolides; however, synthesis
of these substances takes also place in a variety of other animal and plant
organisms, including ethnomedicinal plants of the Kalanchoe genus. Chemically,
bufadienolides are a group of polyhydroxy C-24 steroids and their glycosides,
containing a six-membered lactone (α-pyrone) ring at the C-17β position. From the
pharmacological point of view, bufadienolides might be a promising group of
steroid hormones with cardioactive properties and anticancer activity. Most of
the literature concerns bufadienolides of animal origin; however, the medicinal
use of these compounds remains limited by their narrow therapeutic index and the
risk of development of cardiotoxic effects. On the other hand, plants such as
Kalanchoe are also a source of bufadienolides. Kalanchoe pinnata (life plant, air
plant, cathedral bells), Kalanchoe daigremontiana (mother of thousands) and other
Kalanchoe species are valuable herbs in traditional medicine of Asia and Africa.
The present review focuses on the available data on chemical structures of 31
compounds, biological properties and prospects for therapeutic use of
bufadienolides from Kalanchoe species. Furthermore, it presents some new
investigational trends in research on curative uses of these substances.