Compounds derived from endophytes: a review of phytochemistry and pharmacology.
Endophytes, microorganisms that reside in the tissues of living plants, are a promising source of novel compounds with biological activity, or an alternative source of compounds originally isolated from higher plants. The intent of this review is to provide insights into their occurrence in nature, the products that they make, and how some of these organisms are beginning to show some potential for human use. Information for analysis of endophytic microorganisms was obtained from libraries and Internet scientific databases such as Scirus, Google Scholar, CAB-Abstracts, MedlinePlus, PubMed, SciFinder, Scopus and Web of Science. Many of the compounds reported here were isolated exclusively from endophytes in culture, while other compounds had been previously reported as chemical constituents of higher plants. A survey of the literature shows endophytic microorganisms are mainly known for their alkaloids with cytotoxic, chemopreventive, anti-metastatic and antitumor properties used in the treatment of several types of cancer. The studies of these alkaloids highlight the existence of various potential leads for the development of novel anti-cancer agents. Modern pharmacology studies demonstrated that their crude extracts and active compounds possess wide pharmacological actions, especially for anti-microbial drug discovery, with neuroprotective, antioxidant, nematicidal, antiplasmodium, anti-inflammatory activities. This review summarizes the up-to-date and comprehensive information on compounds from endophytes fungi from 1995 to 2011 that relates to 313 compounds isolated from endophytic microorganisms, together with the botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology, and discusses possible trends and the scope for future research of endophytes.