Isolation and validated HPTLC analysis of four cytotoxic compounds, including a new sesquiterpene from aerial parts of Plectranthus cylindraceus

We report isolation of a new sesquiterpene (compound 2: plectranol A) along with three known compounds (1: maaliol, 3: penduletin and 4: chrysosplenol D) from the aerial parts of Plectranthus cylindraceus Hoechst. Ex. Benth ethyl acetate extract (PCEAE). Their structures were established by UV, IR, NMR (1H & 13C), HRESIMS and HSQC methods. The MTT cell proliferation assay of the compounds and the extract performed on human breast, skin and cervical cancer cell lines showed high toxicity, and their IC50 (μg/mL) values were determined. The validated HPTLC analyses of maaliol and PCEAE (method I) and, penduletin, chrysosplenol D and PCEAE (method II) furnished sharp and compact peaks. The estimated high contents (μg/mg) of maaliol (17.06), penduletin (39.36) and chrysosplenol D (31.66) in PCEAE approved the plant’s cytotoxic property. Since, P. cylindraceus contains a variety of cytotoxic terpenoids and flavonoids; our data warrant its further phytochemical and biological characterisation towards developing promising anti-cancer drugs.