Background: Dihydrostilbenoids, a diverse class of natural products differing
from stilbenoids by the missing double bond in the ethylene chain linking the aromatic moieties,
have been reported from fungi, mosses, ferns, and flowering plants.
Objective: Occurrence, structure, and bioactivity of naturally occurring dihydroresveratrol
type dihydrostilbenoids are discussed in this review.
Method: A Reaxys database search for dihydroresveratrol derivatives with possible substitutions
on all atoms, but excluding non-natural products and compounds featuring additional
rings involving the ethyl connecting chain, was performed.
Results: Structures include simple dihydroresveratrol derivatives, compounds substituted
with complex side chains composed of acyl moieties and sugars, and compounds containing
polycyclic cores attached to dihydrostilbenoid units. Dihydrostilbenoids have a wide spectrum
of bioactivities ranging from expectable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities to
interesting neuroprotective and anticancer activity. The anticancer activity in particular is
very pronounced for some plant-derived dihydrostilbenoids and makes them interesting lead
compounds for drug development. Apart from some reports on dihydroresveratrol derivatives
as phytoalexins against plant-pathogenic fungi, only very limited information is available on
the ecological role of these compounds for the organisms producing them.
Conclusion: Dihydrostilbenoids are a class of natural products possessing significant biological
activities; their scattered but not ubiquitous occurrence throughout the kingdoms of
plants and fungi is not easily explained. We are convinced that future studies will identify
new sources of dihydrostilbenoids, and we hope that the present review will inspire such
studies and will help in directing such efforts to suitable source organisms and towards promising