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acid is a pentacyclic triterpene. It has several botanical
sources, but can also be chemically derived from betulin, a substance
found in abundance in the outer bark of white birch trees . Betulinic
acid has been found to selectively kill human melanoma cells while
leaving healthy cells alive.
- The cytotoxic
potential of betulinic acid was tested using three human melanoma cell
lines, MEL-1, -2, -3, and -4.
- Betulinic acid seems
to work by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.
Due to its apparent specificity for melanoma cells, betulinic acid seems
to be a more promising anti-cancer substance than drugs like Taxol
because Taxol seems to be a more general cell poison and is not specific
to cancer cells.
- Betulinic acid has
also been found to retard the progression of HIV 1 infection, which
eventually leads to AIDS, by preventing the formation of syncytia
(cellular aggregates). In addition, betulinic acid has antibacterial
properties and inhibits the growth of both Staphylococcus aureus
and Escherichia coli.
- Betulinic acid isn't
very poisonous, is relatively inexpensive, and is abundantly available
from the bark of white birch trees in the form of betulin. The compound
is presently undergoing preclinical development.
- The birch-bark is
manufactured in a large amount as a side product of birch-wood harvest
and processing. The most valuable extractive compound of the birch-bark
is the betulin which exhibits the biological activity.
- Betulin and its
derivatives has good prospects for their application in medicine and
pharmaceutics industry. The known methods of betulin producing are based
on its extraction isolation from the outer layer of a birch bark.
- Neutral and acidic
components of the hexane extract were separated by 20% NaOH. Along with
the betulin, the polyphenols, tanning substances and sugars were found
in ethylacetate and isopropanol extracts.
accumulation was reported to be promoted by transfer of cells into the
production medium.Timing course of cell growth and the production of
soyasaponin,betulinic acid and total phytosterol in cultured licorice
cells in the standard medium or the production medium.B
soyasaponin and betulinic acid accumulation was stimulated in the
production medium,the time course of betulinic acid accumulation was
different from that of soyasaponins. The amount of betulinic acid began
to increase on day 8 in the production medium, whereas soyasaponin and
phytosterol accumulation was nearly parallel to cellgrowth.
acid is used in Activation of Mitochondria and Release of
Mitochondrial Apoptogenic Factors.
Differential effect of betulin and betulinic acid on cytokine production
in human whole blood cell cultures.
synthesis of allobetulin, 28-oxyallobetulin and related biomarkers from
betulin and betulinic acid catalysed by solid acids.
of a new triterpenoid steroid hybrid molecule from Betulin.
- In Russia, a company
has developed a method to isolate betulin from birch bark and has been
producing commercial quantities of the compound. The company currently
sells cosmetics and food supplements containing betulin in Europe and
Japan. The company however, has no customers in the North American
- The University of
Minnesota-Duluth’s Research Institute formed a partnership with an
energy company and a paper company to develop and patent a process that
would cost-effectively isolate pure betulin and other compounds from
birch bark in large quantities.
- Before birch
compounds could be offered to the cosmetic industry, scientists needed
to find ways to extract betulinic acid (a naturally occurring compound)
from the bark. Building on the university’s research ability, scientists
have patented a way to successfully convert betulin to betulinic acid.
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