Withanolides from Withania somnifera Dunal: Development of Cellular Technology and their Production
Neelam S. Sangwan, Farzana Sabir, Smrati Mishra, Shilpi Bansal and Rajender S. Sangwan
Affiliation: Metabolic and Structural Biology Department, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP-CSIR), P.O. CIMAP, Lucknow-226015, India.
Keywords: Agrobacterium mediated transformation, Ashwagandha, callus cultures, hairy roots, In vitro tissue culture, multiple
shoot cultures, cell suspension cultures, root cultures, rhizogenesis, triterpenoids, Withania somnifera, withanolides.
Withania somnifera Dunal is one of the most commonly used plants in Ayurvedic and indigenous system of
medicine in India for over thousands of years. In view of its varied therapeutic potential, the plant has also been the subject
of considerable scientific attention. The major chemical constituents of the Withania genus, the withanolides, are a
group of naturally occurring C28-steroidal lactones built on an intact or rearranged ergostane framework, in which C22
and C26 are oxidized to form a six-member lactone ring. In recent years, numerous pharmacological investigations have
been carried out utilizing W. somnifera extracts and several patents have been filed on pharmacological and medicinal importance
of withanolides and extracts of W. somnifera, individually or in combination. Considering the immense importance
of withanolides for medicinal purposes, the establishment of strategies to improve withanolides yield are highly desirable.
Under natural conditions, W. somnifera possesses restricted levels of withanolides then, alternatives for obtaining
withanolides in better yields are imperative. In vitro approaches followed by metabolic engineering could be attractive
tools to achieve this goal. Therefore, we present here an overview of the development of various protocols for in vitro tissue
regeneration from W. somnifera and in vitro secondary metabolite production as well. The review also gives an account
of selected patents on various important activities of phytochemicals and extracts of W. somnifera.
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