In vitro screening for anthelmintic and antitumour activity of ethnomedicinal plants from Thailand

Author(s): Atjanasuppat K, Wongkham W, Meepowpan P, Kittakoop P, Sobhon P, et al.


Aim of study: This study screened for anthelmintic and/or antitumour bioactive compounds from Thai indigenous plants and evaluated effectiveness against three different worm species and two cancer cell lines.

Materials and methods: Methylene chloride and methanol extracts of 32 plant species were screened for in vitro anthelmintic activity against three species of worms, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the digeneans Paramphistomum epiclitum and Schistosoma mansoni (cercariae). Cytotoxicity of the extracts was evaluated against two cancer cell lines: human amelanotic melanoma (C32) and human cervical carcinoma (HeLa) by the SRB assay. Anthelmintic and anticancer activities were evaluated by the inhibiting concentration at 50% death (IC(50)) and the selectivity index (SI) relative to human fibroblasts.

Results and conclusions: None of the extracts were active against Paramphistomum epiclitum. Plumbagin, a pure compound from Plumbago indica, had the strongest activity against Caenorhabditis elegans. The methylene chloride extract of Piper chaba fruits had the strongest activity against schistosome cercariae. Strong cytotoxicity was shown by the methylene chloride extract of Michelia champaca bark and the methanol extract of Curcuma longa rhizome against C32 and HeLa, respectively. These extracts had higher SI (>100) than positive controls in relation to either the worms or the cell lines. The methanol extract of Bouea burmanica had a slightly lower activity towards C32 cells than did Michelia champaca but had a much higher SI (>27,000).

Ethnopharmacological relevance: The plant species screened in this research was recorded by several indigenous medicinal practitioners as antiparasitic, anticancer and/or related activities to the human major organ system.

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