Naphthoquinones and their pharmacological properties


    Naphthoquinones are wide-spread phenolic compounds in nature. They are products of bacterial and fungal as well as high-plants secondary metabolism. Juglone, lawsone, and plumbagin are the most widespread compounds. Naphthoquinones display very significant pharmacological properties--they are cytotoxic, they have significant antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic properties. Pharmacological effects to cardiovascular and reproductive systems have been demonstrated too. The mechanism of their effect is highly large and complex--they bind to DNA and inhibit the processes of replication, interact with numerous proteins (enzymes) and disturb cell and mitochondrial membranes, interfere with electrons of the respiratory chain on mitochondrial membranes. Plants with naphthoquinone content are widely used in China and the countries of South America, where they are applied to malignant and parasitic diseases treatment.