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3-O-cinnamoylepicatechin (1) was synthesized along with four flavoalkaloids, (-)-6-(5'''S)-N-ethyl-2-pyrrolidinone-3-O-cinnamoylepicatechin (2), (-)-6-(5'''R)-N-ethyl-2-pyrrolidinone--3-O-cinnamoylepicatechin (3), (-)-8-(5'''S)-N-ethyl-2-pyrrolidinone-3-O-cinnamoylepicatechin (4), and (-)-8-(5'''R)-N-ethyl-2-pyrrolidinone-3-O-cinnamoylepicatechin (5) via esterification of epicatechin followed by phenolic Mannich reaction of 1 with theanine in the presence of heat. The new compounds 1-5 were detected in leaves of three tea cultivars, Fuding-Dabai, Huangjingui, and Zimudan with the help of ultra performance liquid chromatography hyphenated with photodiode array detector and electrospray ionization high resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC-PDA-ESI-HRMS), suggesting that they are naturally occurring in tea leaves. The structures of the novel natural products were characterized by one and two dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (1D and 2D NMR) and mass spectroscopy. Compounds 1-5 were then evaluated for their acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory effect (IC50 = 0.12 - 1.02 μM). The availability of the synthesized epicatechin derivatives 1-5 via synthetic route enabled the first unequivocal identification of these derivatives as tea secondary metabolites and made it possible to determine their content in the tea material as well as the diverse bioactivities.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of agricultural and food chemistry
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