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Veratrum californicum contains steroidal alkaloids that function as inhibitors of hedgehog (Hh) signaling, a pathway involved in the growth and differentiation of cells and normal tissue development. This same Hh pathway is abnormally active for cell proliferation in more than 20 types of cancer. In this current study, alkaloids have been extracted from the root and rhizome of V. californicum, followed by their separation into five fractions using high performance liquid chromatography. Mass spectrometry was used to identify the presence of twenty-five alkaloids, nine more than are commonly cited in literature reports, and the Bruker Compass Data Analysis software was used to predict the molecular formula for every detected alkaloid. The Gli activity of the raw extract and each fraction were compared to 0.1 µM cyclopamine, and fractions 1, 2, and 4 showed increased bioactivity through suppression of the Hh signaling pathway. Fractions 2 and 4 had enhanced bioactivity, but fraction 1 was most effective in inhibiting Hh signaling. The composition of fraction 1 consisted of veratrosine, cycloposine, and potential isomers of each.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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