Pentacyclic alkaloids in cats claw help boost lymphocyte
Cats claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is popularly used
to treat allergies, inflammations, infections and other diseases.
Two chemically distinct varieties (chemotypes) of the plant exist,
distinguishable by the type of alkaloids they possess: One has
mainly tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOAs), while the other
yields primarily pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Building
on previous work that showed that POAs enhance phagocytosis of
granulocytes and macrophages and block proliferation of certain
cell lines, the present in vitro experiment provided evidence
that POAs, but not TOAs, induce human endothelial cells to release
a substance that significantly enhances proliferation of lymphocytes.
In contrast, the presence of TOAs in the same reaction mixture
inhibited this activity in a dose-dependent manner. More than
one factor may be involved in the regulation of lymphocyte proliferation.
Wurm M, Kacani L, Laus G, et al. Pentacyclic oxindole
alkaloids from Uncaria tomentosa induce human endothelial
cells to release a lymphocyte-proliferation regulating factor.
Planta Medica 1998; 64: 701-704.