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Evaluation of Glucosidase Inhibitory and Cytotoxic Potential of Five Selected Edible and Medicinal Ferns

T-T Chai
L-Y Yeoh
NIM Ismail
H-C Ong
FA Manan
F-C Wong


Purpose: To evaluate the glucosidase inhibitory and cytotoxic activities of five selected edible and medicinal ferns, namely, Blechnum orientale, Davallia denticulata, Diplazium esculentum, Nephrolepis biserrata, and Pteris vittata.
Methods: The aqueous extracts of the five ferns were prepared by water extraction at 90 ºC for 1 h. Antiglucosidase assay was used to determine the effect of each extract on yeast alpha-glucosidase activity in vitro. Cytotoxicity was evaluated using methylthiazol tetrazolium assay on chronic myelogenous leukaemia cell line (K562). The phenolic, hydroxycinnamic acid, flavonoid and proanthocyanidin contents of the extracts were also determined.
Results: The α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of D. esculentum (half maximal effective concentration, EC50 = 6.85 μg/ml) was considerably stronger than that of myricetin (EC50 = 53.21 μg/ml). B. orientale, D. esculentum, N. biserrata, and P. vittata were cytotoxic to K562 cells. P. vittata had the strongest cytotoxicity, although it was less potent than 5-fluorouracil. D. denticulata had the highest phenolic, hydroxycinnamic acid and flavonoid contents of all the extracts while B. orientale had the highest proanthocyanidin content.
Conclusion: Among the five ferns evaluated, D. esculentum is a potential source of an antidiabetic agent and is recommended for further investigation in this regard. All the fern extracts, except D. denticulata, exhibited dose-dependent cytotoxicity against K562 cells.

Keywords: Medicinal fern, α-Glucosidase inhibition, Cytotoxicity, Blechnum orientale, Davallia denticulata, Diplazium esculentum, Nephrolepis biserrata, Pteris vittata