Faculty and Student Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



An efficient synthesis of rac-6-desmethyl-5β–hydroxy-D-secoartemisinin 2, a tricyclic analog of R-(+)-artemisinin 1, was accomplished and the racemate was resolved into the (+)-2b and (−)-2a enantiomers via their Mosher Ester diastereomers. Antimalarial activity resided with only the artemisinin-like enantiomer R-(−)-2a. Several new compounds 9–16, 19a, 19b, 22 and 29 were synthesized from rac-2 but the C-5 secondary hydroxyl group was surprisingly unreactive. For example, the formation of carbamates and Mitsunobu reactions were unsuccessful. In order to assess the unusual reactivity of 2, a single crystal X-ray crystallographic analysis revealed a close intramolecular hydrogen bond from the C-5 alcohol to the oxepane ether oxygen (O-11). All products were tested in vitro against the W-2 and D-6 strains of Plasmodium falciparum. Several of the analogs had moderate activity in comparison to the natural product 1. Iron (II) bromide-promoted rearrangement of 2 gave, in 50% yield, the ring-contracted tetrahydrofuran 22, while the 5-ketone 15 provided a monocyclic methyl ketone 29 (50%). Neither 22 nor 29 possessed in vitro antimalarial activity. These results have implications in regard to the antimalarial mechanism of action of artemisinin.

Relational Format

journal article



Accessibility Status

Searchable text


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.