Six new eremophilane-type sesquiterpenes, namely, nigriterpenes A-F (1-6), and one new phenolic compound, named 2-hydroxymethyl-3-pentylphenol (7), along with fomannoxin alcohol, 3-butyl-7-hydroxyphthalide, scytalone, and fomannoxin were isolated from the ethyl acetate extracts of the fermented broths of termite nest-derived Xylaria nigripes, which has long been used as a traditional Chinese medicine for treating insomnia and depression. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic data analysis and compared with the literature. All the pure isolates were evaluated against lipopolysaccharide-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression, and NO production in murine brain microglial BV-2 cells. Of the compounds tested, nigriterpene C (3) and fomannoxin alcohol exerted significant inhibitory effects on two induced enzymes and NO production without any significant cellular toxicity. The most potent compound, 3, exhibited concentration-dependent inhibition on NO production and iNOS and COX-2 expression with IC50 values of 21.7 ± 4.9, 8.1 ± 2.3, and 16.6 ± 5.5 μM, respectively. These results indicated that the potential anti-inflammatory effects of nigriterpene C (3) and fomannoxin alcohol on murine brain microglial BV-2 cells may provide a rationale for the traditional medical uses of X. nigripes for treating insomnia and depression. (Figure Presented).
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