Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Naturally occurring anthraquinones: chemistry and therapeutic potential in autoimmune diabetes

Volume : 2015 Page : Article ID 357357, 13 pages

SC Chien, YC Wu, ZW Chen, WC Yang

Anthraquinones are a class of aromatic compounds with a 9,10-dioxoanthracene core. So far, 79 naturally occurring anthraquinones have been identified which include emodin, physcion, cascarin, catenarin, and rhein. A large body of literature has demonstrated that the naturally occurring anthraquinones possess a broad spectrum of bioactivities, such as cathartic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, diuretic, vasorelaxing, and phytoestrogen activities, suggesting their possible clinical application in many diseases. Despite the advances that have been made in understanding the chemistry and biology of the anthraquinones in recent years, research into their mechanisms of action and therapeutic potential in autoimmune disorders is still at an early stage. In this paper, we briefly introduce the etiology of autoimmune diabetes, an autoimmune disorder that affects as many as 10 million worldwide, and the role of chemotaxis in autoimmune diabetes. We then outline the chemical structure and biological properties of the naturally occurring anthraquinones and their derivatives with an emphasis on recent findings about their immune regulation. We discuss the structure and activity relationship, mode of action, and therapeutic potential of the anthraquinones in autoimmune diabetes, including a new strategy for the use of the anthraquinones in autoimmune diabetes.