Chalcones (1,3-diaryl-2-propen-1-ones) are open chain flavonoids that are widely biosynthesized in plants. They are important for the pigmentation of flowers and, hence, act as attractants to the pollinators. As flavonoids, chalcones also play an important role in defense against pathogens and insects. A longstanding scientific research has shown that chalcones also display other interesting biological properties such as antioxidant, cytotoxic, anticancer, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal, antiulcer, antihistaminic and anti-inflammatory activities. Some lead compounds with various pharmacological properties have been developed based on the chalcone skeleton. Clinical trials have shown that these compounds reached reasonable plasma concentrations and did not cause toxicity. For these reasons, chalcones became an object of continued interest in both academia and industry. Nowadays, several chalcones are used for treatment of viral disorders, cardiovascular diseases, parasitic infections, pain, gastritis, and stomach cancer, as well as like food additives and cosmetic formulation ingredients. However, much of the pharmacological potential of chalcones is still not utilized. The purpose of this review is to describe the recent efforts of scientists in pharmacological screening of natural and synthetic chalcones, studying the mechanisms of chalcone action and relevant structure-activity relationships. Put together, these activities aimed at synthesis of pharmacologically active chalcones and their analogs.
Chalcones, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-infective, enzyme inhibitory activity
Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev Street, Bl. 9, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria.