Two honokiol dimers, houpulins A and B (1 and 2), and two magnolol derivatives, houpulins C and D (3 and 4), were isolated and characterized from an ethanol extract obtained from the roots of Magnolia officinalis. The chemical structures were determined based on spectroscopic and physicochemical analyses, which included 1D and 2D NMR, as well as mass spectrometry data. These four oligomers possess new carbon skeletons postulated to be biosynthesized from the coupling of three or four C6-C3 subunits. In addition, the new oligomers were evaluated for inhibition of superoxide anion generation and elastase release, and houpulin B (2) was identified as a new anti-inflammatory lead compound.
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