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Alkaloids Used as Medicines: Structural Phytochemistry Meets Biodiversity—An Update and Forward Look

Heinrich, M; Mah, J; Amirkia, V; (2021) Alkaloids Used as Medicines: Structural Phytochemistry Meets Biodiversity—An Update and Forward Look. Molecules , 26 (7) p. 1836. 10.3390/molecules26071836. Green open access

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Abstract

Selecting candidates for drug developments using computational design and empirical rules has resulted in a broad discussion about their success. In a previous study, we had shown that a species’ abundance [as expressed by the GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility)] dataset is a core determinant for the development of a natural product into a medicine. Our overarching aim is to understand the unique requirements for natural product-based drug development. Web of Science was queried for research on alkaloids in combination with plant systematics/taxonomy. All alkaloids containing species demonstrated an average increase of 8.66 in GBIF occurrences between 2014 and 2020. Medicinal Species with alkaloids show higher abundance compared to non-medicinal alkaloids, often linked also to cultivation. Alkaloids with high biodiversity are often simple alkaloids found in multiple species with the presence of ’driver species‘ and are more likely to be included in early-stage drug development compared to ‘rare’ alkaloids. Similarly, the success of an alkaloid containing species as a food supplement (‘botanical’) is linked to its abundance. GBIF is a useful tool for assessing the druggability of a compound from a certain source species. The success of any development programme from natural sources must take sustainable sourcing into account right from the start.

Type: Article
Title: Alkaloids Used as Medicines: Structural Phytochemistry Meets Biodiversity—An Update and Forward Look
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/molecules26071836
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071836
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).
Keywords: alkaloid development; natural products; drug-likeness ethnopharmacology; drug discovery; biodiversity; GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility); modelling
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Pharma and Bio Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125432
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