A neoclerodane orthoester and other new neoclerodane diterpenoids from Teucrium yemense chemistry and effect on secretion of insulin.

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Teucrium yemense, a medicinal plant commonly grown in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, is traditionally used to treat infections, kidney diseases, rheumatism, and diabetes. Extraction of the dried aerial parts of the plant with methanol, followed by further extraction with butanol and chromatography, gave twenty novel neoclerodanes. Their structures, relative configurations and some conformations were determined by MS and 1-D and 2-D NMR techniques. Most were fairly conventional but one contained an unusual stable orthoester, one had its (C-16)-(C-13)-(C-14)-(C-15) (tetrahydro)furan unit present as a succinic anhydride and one had a rearranged carbon skeleton resulting from ring-contraction to give a central octahydroindene bicyclic core, rather than the usual decalin. Mechanisms are proposed for the biosynthetic formation of the orthoester and for the ring-contraction. Four novel neoclerodanes increased the glucose-triggered release of insulin from isolated murine pancreatic islets by more than the standard drug tolbutamide, showing that they are potential leads for the development of new anti-diabetic drugs.