Structural Elucidation and Structure–Anti-inflammatory Activity Relationships of Cembranoids from Cultured Soft Corals <i>Sinularia sandensis</i> and <i>Sinularia flexibilis</i>

New cembranoids 4-carbomethoxyl-10-epigyrosanoldie E (<b>1</b>), 7-acetylsinumaximol B (<b>2</b>), diepoxycembrene B (<b>6</b>), dihydromanaarenolide I (<b>8</b>), and isosinulaflexiolide K (<b>9</b>), along with 11 known related metabolites, were isolated from cultured soft corals <i>Sinularia sandensis</i> and <i>Sinularia flexibilis</i>. The structures were elucidated by means of infrared, mass spectrometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, and the absolute configurations of <b>1</b>, <b>4</b>, <b>9</b>, and <b>15</b> were further confirmed by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. The absolute configurations of these coral metabolites and comparison with known analogues showed that one hypothesis (that cembrane diterpenes possessing an absolute configuration of an isopropyl group at C1 obtained from Alcyonacean soft corals belong to the α series, whereas analogues isolated from Gorgonacean corals belong to the β series) is not applicable for a small number of cembranoids. An <i>in vitro</i> anti-inflammatory study using LPS-stimulated macrophage-like cell line RAW 264.7 revealed that compounds <b>9–14</b> significantly suppressed the accumulation of pro-inflammatory proteins, iNOS and COX-2. Structure–activity relationship analysis indicated that cembrane-type compounds with one seven-membered lactone moiety at C-1 are potential anti-inflammatory agents. This is the first culture system in the world that has successfully been used to farm <i>S. sandensis</i>.