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1.  Isolation and identification of an antiparasitic triterpenoid estersaponin from the stem bark of Pittosporum mannii (Pittosporaceae) 
To screen for antiparasitic properties of Pittosporum mannii Hook (Pittosporaceae) through in vitro bioassay tests and to identify the bioactive compound(s).
The stem bark of Pittosporum mannii was harvested in Bali Nyonga in January 2007. The CH2Cl2 and MeOH extracts were tested in vitro for antiparasitic activity. NF54 (an airport strain of unknown origin and sensitive to all known drugs) and K1 (a clone originating from Thailand and resistant to chloroquine/pyrimethamine) strains were used for the antiplasmodial screening while Leishmania donovani MHOM-ET-67/L82 was used for antileishmanial testing. 1H and 13C NMR spectra were recorded on a Bruker AMX-500 spectrometer using CDCl3 as solvent. EIMS were recorded on a double-focusing mass spectrometer (Varian MAT 311A) while HREIMS were recorded on a JEOL HX 110 mass spectrometer.
The MeOH extract was active on both the chloroquine-resistant (K1) strain (IC50=4.3 µg/mL) and on the macrophages of Leishmania donovani (IC50=8.6 µg/mL). The CH2Cl2 extract was considered inactive on both parasites (IC50>5.0 µg/mL and 21.7 µg/mL respectively). Compound 1, a constituent that precipitated from the MeOH extract, showed pronounced activity on both Plasmodium falciparum and Leishmania donovani parasites (IC50=1.02 and 1.80 µg/mL respectively) with artemisinin and miltefosine included as reference drugs. Its structure was identified as 1-O-[apha-L-(Rhamnopyranosyl]-23-acetoxyimberbic acid 29-methyl ester, a pentacyclic triterpenoid estersaponin.
The present study constitutes the first report on the antiparasitic activity of this plant and provides some support for the traditional use of the plant in the treatment of malaria. The plant has therefore been identified as a potential source for the discovery of antiparasitic lead compounds.
PMCID: PMC4027329
Phytochemical; Pittosporum; Antiplasmodial; Triterpenoid; Saponins
2.  Anti-Onchocerca activity and phytochemical analysis of an essential oil from Cyperus articulatus L 
The lack of a safe and effective adult worm drug and the emergence of resistant animal parasite strains to the only recommended drug, the microfilaricide, ivermectin put many at risk of the devastating effects of the onchocerciasis. The present study was undertaken to investigate the acclaimed anti-Onchocerca activity of the roots/rhizomes of Cyperus articulatus in the traditional treatment of onchocerciasis in North Western Cameroon and to assess the plant as a new source of potential filaricidal lead compounds.
Crude extracts were prepared from the dried plant parts using hexane, methylene chloride and methanol. The antifilarial activity was evaluated in vitro on microfilariae (Mfs) and adult worms of the bovine derived Onchocerca ochengi, a close relative of Onchocerca volvulus. The viabilities of microfilariae and adult male worms were determined based on motility reduction, while for the adult female worms the viability was based on the standard MTT/formazan assay. Cytotoxicity of the active extract was assessed on monkey kidney epithelial cells in vitro and the selectivity indices (SI) were determined. Acute toxicity of the promising extract was investigated in mice. Chemical composition of the active extract was unraveled by GC/MS analysis.
Only the hexane extract, an essential oil exhibited anti-Onchocerca activity. The oil killed both the microfilariae and adult worms of O. ochengi in a dose manner dependently, with IC50s of 23.4 μg/ml on the Mfs, 23.4 μg/ml on adult male worms and 31.25 μg/ml on the adult female worms. Selectivity indices were 4, 4, and 2.99 for Mfs, adult males and adult females, respectively. At a single limit dose of 2000 mg/kg body weight, none of 6 mice that received the essential oil by gavage died. GC/MS analysis revealed the presence of terpenoids, hydrocarbons and fatty acids or fatty acid derivatives as components of the oil.
The essential oil from the roots/rhizomes of Cyperus articulatus is active against O. ochengi microfilariae and adult worms in vitro in a dose dependent manner, hence may provide a source of new anti-filarial compounds. The results also support the traditional use of C. articulatus in the treatment of human onchocerciasis.
PMCID: PMC4099029  PMID: 24998345
Essential oil; Human onchocerciasis; Cyperus articulatus; Phytochemical analysis
3.  Bioassay-guided discovery of antibacterial agents: in vitro screening of Peperomia vulcanica, Peperomia fernandopoioana and Scleria striatinux 
The global burden of bacterial infections is high and has been further aggravated by increasing resistance to antibiotics. In the search for novel antibacterials, three medicinal plants: Peperomia vulcanica, Peperomia fernandopoioana (Piperaceae) and Scleria striatinux (Cyperaceae), were investigated for antibacterial activity and toxicity.
Crude extracts of these plants were tested by the disc diffusion method against six bacterial test organisms followed by bio-assay guided fractionation, isolation and testing of pure compounds. The minimum inhibitory (MIC) and minimum bactericidal (MBC) concentrations were measured by the microdilution method. The acute toxicity of the active extracts and cytotoxicity of the active compound were performed in mice and mammalian cells, respectively.
The diameter of the zones of inhibition (DZI) of the extracts ranged from 7–13 mm on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus of which the methylene chloride:methanol [1:1] extract of Scleria striatinux recorded the highest activity (DZI = 13 mm). Twenty-nine pure compounds were screened and one, Okundoperoxide, isolated from S. striatinux, recorded a DZI ranging from 10–19 mm on S. aureus. The MICs and MBCs indicated that the Peperomias had broad-spectrum bacteriostatic activity. Toxicity tests showed that Okundoperoxide may have a low risk of toxicity with an LC50 of 46.88 μg/mL.
The antibacterial activity of these plants supports their use in traditional medicine. The pure compound, Okundoperoxide, may yield new antibacterial lead compounds following medicinal chemistry exploration.
PMCID: PMC3403929  PMID: 22549052
Resistance; Medicinal plants; Antibacterial compound; Toxicity
4.  Selective activity of extracts of Margaritaria discoidea and Homalium africanum on Onchocerca ochengi 
The current treatment of onchocerciasis relies on the use of ivermectin which is only microfilaricidal and for which resistant parasite strains of veterinary importance are increasingly being detected. In the search for novel filaricides and alternative medicines, we investigated the selective activity of crude extracts of Margaritaria discoidea and Homalium africanum on Onchocerca ochengi, a model parasite for O. volvulus. These plants are used to treat the disease in North West Cameroon.
Sixteen crude extracts were prepared from various parts of M. discoidea and H. africanum using different organic solvents. The filaricidal activities were determined in vitro. Cytotoxicity of the active extracts was assessed on monkey kidney epithelial cells in vitro and the selectivity indices (SI) of the extracts determined. Acute toxicity of the promising extracts was investigated in mice.
Four out of the 16 extracts showed microfilaricidal activity based on motility reduction, whereas, none showed macrofilaricidal activity based on the MTT/formazan assay. The methylene chloride extract of H. africanum leaves (HLC) recorded the lowest IC50 of 31.25 μg/mL and an IC100 of 62.5 μg/mL. The SI for the active extracts ranged from 0.5 - 2.63. No form of acute toxicity was observed in mice. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of anthraquinones, sterols and terpenoids in the promising extracts.
The non-polar extracts of M. discoidea and H. africanum are potential sources of new microfilaricidal lead compounds, and the results support their use in traditional medicine.
PMCID: PMC2987330  PMID: 21029456
5.  Okundoperoxide, A Bicyclic Cyclofarnesylsesquiterpene Endoperoxide from Scleria striatinux with Antiplasmodial Activity 
Journal of natural products  2009;72(2):280-283.
Okundoperoxide (1) was isolated by bioassay-guided fractionation of extracts from Scleria striatinux (syn. S. striatonux) (Cyperaceae). The compound contains a cyclic endoperoxide structural moiety and possesses moderate antimalarial activity.
PMCID: PMC2765531  PMID: 19199815

Results 1-5 (5)