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Croton Oil

Tom McCloud mccloud at dtpax2.ncifcrf.gov
Mon Dec 4 09:38:51 EST 1995

In article <49pabi$e2n at newsbf02.news.aol.com> dimagin at aol.com (DImagin) writes:
>From: dimagin at aol.com (DImagin)
>Subject: Croton Oil
>Date: 2 Dec 1995 05:38:42 -0500

>When I was working as a cell biologist, we would use phorbol esters as
>tumor promoters.  I gather that the phorbol esters were originally
>isolated from croton oil, pressed from the seeds of croton tiglium.  Can
>anyone tell me more about these?  I have occasionally seen the latter
>offered for sale - they are attractive plants with copper and gold
>dagger-shaped leaves.  How dangerous are they?  Do the leaves or sap of
>the plant have tumor promoter activity as well?


>Bruce Hubbard

There is a book titled 'Naturally Occurring Phorbol Esters' ed. Fred Evans   
CRC Press, 1986, that probably contains more information than you want.

On p. 2  he cites isolation of tetradecanoyl phorbolacetate from Croton in 
1968 by Hecker  (Cancer Research 28, 2338 , 1968). 

Phorbol esters are nonpolar compounds and tend to be present in greatest  
amount  in seed or seed oils, but can be found in other parts of many plants.
Not all phorbol esters are equally potent as promoters, so I can't  answer your
question about how dangerous a particular plant might be.   As an aside to some
other work we werre doing we looked for phorbols in extracts of  235 plants, 
mostly from family = Euphorbiaceae.    The assay used was displacement of 
tritiated phorbol dibutyrate from rat brain tissue,  DeVries, Biochem. 
Pharmacol. 37, 4069, 1988.    These results were published in Phytotherapy 
Research 3, 188, 1989.    Genus, species and plant-part for each extract is 
given, and the results give pretty good chemotaxonomic support to Webster's
taxonomy of the family.                  Tom McCloud   SAIC/Frederick

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