Phytochemical profiles, phototoxic and antioxidant properties of eleven Hypericum species - A comparative study

Silvia Lazzara, Alessandra Carrubba, Edoardo Napoli, Antonella Saija, Silvia Lazzara, Antonio Speciale, Laura Siracusa, Mariateresa Cristani, Giuseppe Ruberto, Francesco Cimino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Hypericum is one out of the nine genera belonging to the botanical family Clusiaceae Lindl (syn. Hypericaceae Juss.; APG III, 2009). The genus contains 484 species spread worldwide, one of which, Hypericum perforatum, is largely used in folk medicine. The aim of this study was to evaluate the chemical composition, along with the antioxidant and phototoxic activity, of 11 Hypericum species grown in Sicily (H. perforatum L., H. aegypticum L., H. androsaemum L., H. calycinum L., H. hircinum L., H. hirsutum L., H. montanum L., H. patulum Thunb., H. perfoliatum L., H. pubescens Boiss., H. tetrapterum Fr.). Samples of flowering tops collected from these Hypericum species were extracted and analysed by high performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection and mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-MS) to determine their content of main polyphenols, acylphloroglucinols, and naphthodianthrones. The extracts were also subjected to a photocytotoxic assay using murine fibroblast (NIH/3T3), and their antioxidant activity evaluated by means of Folin-Ciocalteau, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging, and oxygen radical antioxidant capacity assays. Phytochemical analysis allowed us to identify and quantify 20 metabolites, each of them possessing a well-known biological activity. Furthermore, all examined species showed a good cytotoxic and antioxidant/radical scavenging activity. These results indicate that in addition to the well-known H. perforatum, at least other three species (H. tetrapterum, H. pubescens, and H. montanum) represent potential sources of biologically active compounds, and at least other two species (H. perfoliatum and H. tetrapterum), due to their phototoxicity are candidates for application in photodynamic therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-173
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture

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