Background: The spirocyclic compounds have always aroused a great interest because this motif is present as structural core in a number of natural products and bioactive compounds. In particular, the spirolactone moiety has been recognized in a wide array of natural and non-natural scaffolds showing a variety of useful pharmacological properties.
Methods: Extensive literature search using SciFinder (Databases: CA Plus, CAS Registry, CAS React, Chemlist, Chemcat and Medline) and Web of Science (Database: Web of Science Core Collection) was conducted.
Results: Nowadays, many efforts are being devoted to the discovery of new natural products containing the promising spirolactone framework and to the disclosure of the potential bioactivities of these chemical entities. Moreover, the medicinal relevance of many spirolactones makes these scaffolds attractive targets for the design and development of innovative and efficient synthetic strategies, enabling the construction of complex and variably substituted products.
Conclusion: This review gives an overview on the recent advances in the spirolactones field, in terms of new compounds isolated from natural sources, recently determined bioactivity profiles and innovative synthetic approaches. The collected data demonstrate the key role played by spirolactones in medicinal chemistry and the great attention still devoted by the scientific community to these compounds.