Agarwood (jinkoh in Japanese) is a resinous wood from Aquilaria species of the family Thymelaeaceae and has been used as incense and in traditional medicines. Characteristic chromone derivatives such as agarotetrol have been isolated from agarwood. In previous study, we isolated two new 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromones together with six known compounds from MeOH extract of agarwood. Further chemical investigation of the MeOH extract led to isolation of eighteen 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromones, including three new 5,6,7,8-tetrahydroxy-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrochromones with stereochemistry enantiomeric to agarotetrol-type, viz. (5R,6S,7S,8R)-2-[2-(3′-hydroxy-4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]-5,6,7,8-tetrahydroxy-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrochromone (2), (5R,6S,7S,8R)-2-[2-(4′-methoxyphenyl)ethyl]-5,6,7,8-tetrahydroxy-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrochromone (6), and (5R,6S,7S,8R)-2-[2-(4′-hydroxy-3′- methoxyphenyl)ethyl]-5,6,7,8-tetrahydroxy-5,6,7,8-tetrahydrochromone (13). The absolute configurations of the new compounds were determined by exciton chirality method. All isolated compounds were tested for their phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3A inhibitory activity by fluorescence polarization method. Compounds 8, 12–15, 21–24 showed moderate PDE 3A inhibitory activity.
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This work was supported in part by Keio Gijyuku Academic Development Funds and MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities.
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