Pre-clinical in vitro investigation of the cytotoxic effect of Ficus species on hepatoma G2 cells using two standard toxicity assays
Medicinal plants have had a long traditional use and gained integration into the primary health care through its recognition and standardization by WHO. Medicinal plant use has been well documented, and hundreds of plant species, and their extracts, are used in developing countries to treat numerous diseases despite the fact that only a small number are approved for therapeutic use by the FDA. However, the cytotoxic effects of these plants have not been studied in detail, nor have their molecular structures been identified. The objective of this study was to investigate the cytotoxic effects of Ficus species using two standard cytotoxic assays. The stem, leaf, bark and trunk extracts from each plant species were used to determine the cytotoxic effects of the plant species, Hep G2 cells were exposed to extracts taken from plant species at concentrations of 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 μg/ml and the cytotoxic effects determined using both MTT and Neutral Red assays. Using two standard assays; MTT and Neutral Red assays, the cytotoxicity of each plant species was determined. It was evident that extracts from Ficus ovata exposure to Hep G2 cell lines showed no level of cytotoxic effect, but for cells treated with all other extracts of the plant species, cytotoxic effects were observed in at least one concentration tested. This cytotoxicity assay study showed that F. ovata extracts at different concentrations exposed to Hep G2 cells indicated no observed cytotoxicity effect and by inference could be considered as a promising safe medicinal product. As safety was evaluated only at cell level there is need for more comprehensive in vivo toxicity testing to ascertain the safety level of the plant.
Keywords: Pre-clinicals, cytotoxic, Ficus spp, Hepatoma cells, toxicity assay.