– A new approach to oroxylin A, a monomethylated trihydroxyflavone, is described. The starting material was baicalin, a representative naturally abundant flavonoid glucuronide. First, conditions for the cleavage of the glycosidic bond were established, using a mixture of water and conc. sulfuric acid (5:2) at 121 °C for 40 min. The hydrolysis was performed in a high-pressure steam sterilizer so that the temperature and reaction time were precisely controlled. Subsequent acetylation of the crude material furnished baicalein 6,7-diacetate on a preparative scale and in a reproducible manner. Next, the C-7 position was protected site-selectively with a methoxymethyl (MOM) group, taking advantage of an unexpected sequential migration of the two acetyl groups among the C-5, C-6, and C-7 positions under basic conditions. The removal of the two remaining acetyl groups followed by site-selective methylation of the C-6 position furnished 5-hydroxy-6-methoxy-7-methoxymethoxyflavone (oroxylin A C-7 MOM ether). Finally, by the deprotection of the MOM ether, oroxylin A was obtained in 6 total steps and 62% overall yield from baicalin.
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