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Evaluation of ethnopharmacologically selected Vitex negundo L. for In vitro antimalarial activity and secondary metabolite profiling.

Journal of ethnopharmacology (2021-04-01)
Manish Kumar Dwivedi, Ravindra Shukla, Naveen Kumar Sharma, Ashan Manhas, Kumkum Srivastava, Niti Kumar, Prashant Kumar Singh

Limited drugs, rise in drug resistance against frontline anti-malarial drugs, non-availability of efficacious vaccines and high cost of drug development hinders malaria intervention programs. Search for safe, effective and affordable plant based anti-malarial agents, thus becomes crucial and vital in the current scenario. The Vitex negundo L. is medicinal plant possessing a variety of pharmaceutically important compounds. The plant is used traditionally worldwide for the treatment of malaria including India and Malaysia by the indigenous tribes. In vitro studies have reported the anti-malarial use of the plant in traditional medicinal systems. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the traditionally used medicinal plants for in vitro anti-malarial activity against human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and profiling secondary metabolite using spectroscopic and chromatographic methods. Chemical profiling of active secondary metabolites in the extracts was undertaken using LC-MS. Based on the ethno-botanical data V. negundo L. was selected for in vitro anti-malarial activity against P. falciparum chloroquine-sensitive (3D7) and multidrug resistant (K1) strains using SYBR Green-I based fluorescence assay. Cytotoxicity of extracts was evaluated in VERO cell line using the MTT assay. Haemolysis assay was performed using human red blood cells. Secondary metabolites profiling was undertaken using chromatographic and spectroscopic analysis. Liquid chromatography analysis was performed using a C18, 150 X 2.1, 2.6 μm column with gradient mobile phase Solvent A: 95% (H2O: ACN), Solvent B: Acetonitrile, Solvent C: Methanol, Solvent D: 5 mM NH4 in 95:5 (H2O: ACN) at a constant flow rate of 0.250 ml/min. The LC-MS spectra were acquired in both positive and negative ion modes with electrospray ionization (ESI) source. The anti-malarial active extract of V. negundo L. leaf exhibited potent anti-malarial activity with IC50 values of 7.21 μg/ml and 7.43 μg/ml against 3D7 and K1 strains, respectively with no evidence of significant cytotoxicity against mammalian cell line (VERO) and no toxicity as observed in haemolysis assay. The HPLC-LC-MS analysis of the extract led to identification of 73 compounds. We report for the first time the presence of Sabinene hydrate acetate, 5-Hydroxyoxindole, 2(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-6, 7-dimethoxychromen-4-one, Cyclotetracosa-1, 13-diene and 5, 7-Dimethoxyflavanone in the anti-malarial active extract of V. negundo L. leaf. Agnuside, Behenic acid and Globulol are some of the novel compounds with no reports of anti-malarial activity so far and require further evaluation in pure form for the development of potent anti-malarial compounds. The result report and scientifically validate the traditional use of V. negundo L. for the treatment of malaria providing new avenues for anti-malarial drug development. Several novel and unknown compounds were identified that need to be further characterized for anti-malarial potential.

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