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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 23

Am J Chin Med

: Signature Compounds, Anticancer, Analgesic, Neuroprotective and Other Activities, and the Clinical Translation Challenges.


Lü J, Jiang C, Schell TD, Joshi M, Raman JD, Xing C
Am J Chin Med. 2022 Jul 23:1-53.
PMID: 35876033.


Nakai (AGN) root is a medicinal herbal widely used in traditional medicine in Korea. AGN root ethanolic extract dietary supplements are marketed in the United States for memory health and pain management. We comprehensively reviewed the anticancer, analgesic, pro-memory and other bio-activities of AGN extract and its signature phytochemicals decursin, decursinol angelate, and decursinol a decade ago in 2012 and updated their anticancer activities in 2015. In the last decade, significant progress has been made for understanding the pharmacokinetics (PK) and metabolism of these compounds in animal models and single dose human PK studies have been published by us and others. In addition to increased knowledge of the known bioactivities, new bioactivities with potential novel health benefits have been reported in animal models of cerebral ischemia/stroke, anxiety, sleep disorder, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, sepsis, metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and even male infertility. Herein, we will update PK and metabolism of pyranocoumarins, review bioactivities from animal models and human studies, and critically appraise the relevant active compounds, the cellular and molecular pharmacodynamic targets, and pertinent mechanisms of action. Knowledge gaps include whether human pyranocoumarin PK metrics are AGN dose dependent and subjected to metabolic ceiling, or metabolic adaptation after repeated use. Critical clinical translation challenges include sourcing of AGN extracts, product consistency and quality control, and AGN dose optimization for different health conditions and disease indications. Future research directions are articulated to fill knowledge gaps and address these challenges.