Isobutylhydroxyamides from Sichuan Pepper and Their Protective Activity on PC12 Cells Damaged by Corticosterone

The pericarp of Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim., commonly known as Sichuan pepper, is a widely used spice to remove fishy odor and add palatable taste. A phytochemical investigation of the 95% ethanol extract of Sichuan pepper resulted in the isolation of 21 isobutylhydroxyamides, including 8 new ones named ZP-amides G–N, among which the chiral resolution of racemic ZP-amide A and ZP-amide B was successfully accomplished. The protective activity on corticosterone-treated PC12 cells of the isolated isobutylhydroxyamides was also evaluated. The new compounds 35 and the known compounds 1, 1a, 2, 2a, 11, and 15 improved the survival rate of PC12 cells. The bioactivity studies disclosed the potential of Sichuan pepper to be developed as new neuroprotective functional food.