Malaria journal

Anti-malarial activity and toxicity assessment of Himatanthus articulatus, a plant used to treat malaria in the Brazilian Amazon.

PMID 25888719


Plasmodium falciparum has become resistant to some of the available drugs. Several plant species are used for the treatment of malaria, such as Himatanthus articulatus in parts of Brazil. The present paper reports the phyto-chemistry, the anti-plasmodial and anti-malarial activity, as well as the toxicity of H. articulatus. Ethanol and dichloromethane extracts were obtained from the powder of stem barks of H. articulatus and later fractionated and analysed. The anti-plasmodial activity was assessed against a chloroquine resistant strain P. falciparum (W2) in vitro, whilst in vivo anti-malarial activity against Plasmodium berghei (ANKA strain) was tested in mice, evaluating the role of oxidative stress (total antioxidant capacity--TEAC; lipid peroxidation--TBARS, and nitrites and nitrates--NN). In addition, cytotoxicity was evaluated using the HepG2 A16 cell-line. The acute oral and sub-chronic toxicity of the ethanol extract were evaluated in both male and female mice. Plumieride was isolated from the ethyl acetate fraction of ethanol extract, Only the dichloromethane extract was active against clone W2. Nevertheless, both extracts reduced parasitaemia in P. berghei-infected mice. Besides, a significant reduction in pulmonary and cerebral levels of NN (nitrites and nitrates) was found, as well as in pulmonary TBARS, indicating a reduced oxidative damage to these organs. The ethanol extract showed low cytotoxicity to HepG2 A16 cells in the concentrations used. No significant changes were observed in the in vivo toxicity studies. The ethanol extract of H. articulatus proved to be promising as anti-malarial medicine and showed low toxicity.