Culex pipiens is a main vector for Bancroftian filariasis, Rift Valley Fever and diseases caused by other viruses, leaving several peoples with disabilities. In recent years, plant derived compounds have received much attention as potential alternatives to synthetic chemicals due to their low toxicity to mammals and environmental persistence. Twenty-one monoterpenes from different chemical groups (hydrocarbons and oxygenated products) were evaluated against Culex pipiens larvae. In addition, in vivo biochemical studies including effects on acetylcholine esterase (AChE), acid and alkaline phosphatases (ACP and ALP), total adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) and gamma-aminobutyric acid transaminase (GABA-T) were investigated. Furthermore, in silico studies including pharmacophore elucidation, ADMET analysis and molecular docking of these compounds were performed. Among all tested monoterpenes, hydrocarbons [p-cymene, (R)-(+)-limonene and (+)-α-pinene], acetates (cinnamyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, eugenyl acetate and terpinyl acetate), alcohols [(±)-β-citronellol and terpineol], aldehydes [citral and (1R)-(-)-myrtenal] and ketone [(R)-(+)-pulegone] exhibited the highest larval toxicity with LC50 = 14.88, 27.97, 26.13, 2.62, 3.81, 2.74, 21.65, 1.64, 21.70, 21.76, 1.68 and 1.90 mg/L after 48 h of exposure, respectively. The compounds proved a significant inhibition of all tested enzymes except total ATPase. The biochemical and molecular docking studies proved that AChE and GABA-T were the main targets for the tested monoterpenes.
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