Phytochemical investigation of ethanol extracts from two Taiwanese collections of Vernonia cinerea resulted in the isolation of eighteen hirsutinolide-type sesquiterpenoids, including seven new ones designated as vernolides E – K ( 1 – 7 ). All structures were determined by a combination of detailed spectroscopic analyses (NMR and MS) and comparison with reported data. In an in vitro anti-inflammatory assay, compounds 3, 7, 9, 11 , and 14 exhibited strong inhibitory activities toward NO production by LPS-induced RAW264.7 macrophages, with IC 50 values of 1.18, 0.85, 0.66, 0.71 and 0.45 µM, respectively, without affecting cellular viability at 40 µM. Preliminary structure-activity relationships indicate that the ester groups at C-8 and C-13 may enhance inhibition of NO production.
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