Antileishmanial and cytotoxic effects of essential oil and methanolic extract of Myrtus communis L.
Korean J Parasitol. 2015 Feb ;53(1):21-7. Epub 2015 Feb 27. PMID: 25748705
Plants used for traditional medicine contain a wide range of substances that can be used to treat various diseases such as infectious diseases. The present study was designed to evaluate the antileishmanial effects of the essential oil and methanolic extract of Myrtus communis against Leishmania tropica on an in vitro model. Antileishmanial effects of essential oil and methanolic extract of M. communis on promastigote forms and their cytotoxic activities against J774 cells were evaluated using MTT assay for 72 hr. In addition, their leishmanicidal activity against amastigote forms was determined in a macrophage model, for 72 hr. Findings showed that the main components of essential oil wereα-pinene (24.7%), 1,8-cineole (19.6%), and linalool (12.6%). Findings demonstrated that M. communis, particularly its essential oil, significantly (P<0.05) inhibited the growth rate of promastigote and amastigote forms of L. tropica based on a dose-dependent response. The IC50 values for essential oil and methanolic extract was 8.4 and 28.9μg/ml against promastigotes, respectively. These values were 11.6 and 40.8 μg/ml against amastigote forms, respectively. Glucantime as control drug also revealed IC50 values of 88.3 and 44.6 μg/ml for promastigotes and amastigotes of L. tropica, respectively. The in vitro assay demonstrated no significant cytotoxicity in J774 cells. However, essential oil indicated a more cytotoxic effect as compared with the methanolic extract of M. communis. The findings of the present study demonstrated that M. communis might be a natural source for production of a new leishmanicidal agent.