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Variation in the Production of Sedative and Anxiolytic Compounds Among Galphimia sp. Populations Grown in a Greenhouse

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Galphimia glauca Cav., Malpighiaceae, is used as a tranquilizer in Mexico. Its active compounds are nor-secofriedelane triterpenes known as galphimines. Using metabolic profiling, we previously demonstrated that individuals obtained in two localities out of the seven analyzed, exhibited accumulation of galphimines. In the present work, we tested the hypothesis that this accumulation responds to genetic control. Galphimia sp. individuals were collected from six previously studied populations, located in five Mexican states (Doctor Mora in Guanajuato, Jalpan in Querétaro, Cuernavaca and Tepoztlán in Morelos, Guadalajara in Jalisco, and Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas), and transplanted to grow under uniform greenhouse conditions, for a period of 11 months. A phytochemical analysis using chromatographic procedures was performed for all individuals upon arrival and after 11 months of controlled growth. Results indicated that only two populations (Doctor Mora, Guanajuato, and Jalpan, Querétaro), out of the six that were collected, produced galphimines before and after controlled growth, exhibiting the same chemotype pattern in the greenhouse, as in the wild. However, evident changes in foliar morphology, probably due to phenotypic plasticity, were observed in all the acclimatized plants.

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GB is indebted to CONACYT for the doctoral fellowship awarded. The authors thank M.I. Ariadna Zenil Rodríguez and M.F. Emma R. Medellín Cardoso for technical assistance in HPLC and greenhouse cultivation.


This work was supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología CONACYT (Grant 222714).

Author information

GB collected the plant material, performed cultivation, as well as TLC and HPCL testing, analyzed the data, and drafted the paper. REA contributed to design the statistical analyses, its integration in the discussion section, and in writing the manuscript. AOC contributed in the analysis of the data and critical reading. ACT was responsible for the HPLC and TLC analyses, as well as for analysis of data and critical reading of the manuscript. MLV designed the project, obtained financial support, supervised the work, and made a critical writing of the manuscript. All the authors have read the final manuscript and approved the submission.

Correspondence to María Luisa Villarreal.

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Balderas, G.S., Alcalá, R.E., Ortíz-Caltempa, A. et al. Variation in the Production of Sedative and Anxiolytic Compounds Among Galphimia sp. Populations Grown in a Greenhouse. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43450-020-00010-y

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  • Galphimines
  • Genetic control
  • Geographic variation
  • Phenotypic plasticity