Leishmanicidal and cytotoxic activity of extracts and saponins from Ilex laurina (Aquifoliaceae)

  • Juan M. Pérez
  • Sara Robledo
  • Wilson Cardona
  • Fernando Alzate
  • Diana Muñoz
  • Angie Herrera
Keywords: Leishmaniasis, Antiprotozoal, Saponin, Ilex laurina, Aquifoliaceae


Purpose: To evaluate the leishmanicidal and cytotoxic activity of alcohol and non-alcohol extracts and saponins from Ilex laurina.

Methods: Extracts were obtained by percolation with solvents of different polarities: hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and ethanol. The ethyl acetate extract was subjected to silica gel column chromatography eluting with a step gradient of dichloromethane-methanol. All products were evaluated in vitro for leishmanicidal activity against amastigotes of leishmania panamensis and cytotoxicity on U-937 cells.

Results: Two saponins were isolated from the ethyl acetate extract. The ethyl acetate extract showed high leishmanicidal activity against intracellular amastigotes of L. panamensis (EC50, 7.5 ± 1.5 μg/mL) and low activity against axenic amastigotes (EC50, 52.8 ±1.6 μg/mL); this extract showed also high cytotoxicity (LC50, 57.7 ± 12.1 μg/mL). Saponin 2 exhibited high activity against intracellular amastigotes (EC50, 5.9 ± 0.5 μg/mL) but also showed high cytotoxicity on U-937 cells (EC50, 25.7 ± 6.1 μg/mL). This compound showed similar leishmanicidal activity and cytotoxicity to meglumine antimoniate and amphotericin B, respectively, drugs currently used for the treatment of leishmaniasis.

Conclusions: Based on these results, Ilex laurina is a potential source of compounds that can lead to the development of new therapeutic alternatives against leishmaniasis.

Keywords: Leishmaniasis, Antiprotozoal, Saponin, Ilex laurina, Aquifoliaceae


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996