Antiplasmodial Activity of Ethanol Extract and Fractions of Nauclea Latifolia Smith (Rubiacea) Roots
Malaria is a parasitic disease that is endemic in Nigeria with one of the greatest challenges being the development of resistance by Plasmodium falciparum against chloroquine and Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). Since, ethnobotanical studies have given insight on the use Nauclea latifolia (Pin cushion tree) to treat malaria, this study was aimed at validating or rejecting this claims through the extraction and fractionation of the secondary metabolites in the roots of this plant as well as evaluation of the in vivo antiplasmodial activity by comparing their effects with amodiaquine and artesunate. The extract and fractions were administered orally to albino mice by adopting the standard procedures of prophylactic, suppressive and curative antiplasmodial assay models. The following phytochemicals were relatively abundant: alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, glycosides, cardiac glycosides and carbohydrates. The analysis showed that all treatment groups had significant prophylactic activities but the best three were amodiaquine, dichloromethane and ethyl acetate fractions. However, all the treatment groups showed good chemosuppresive activity against Plasmodium berghei as follows: amodiaquine (99.2%), artesunate (98.8%), ethanol extract (96.2%) and aqueous fraction (91.3%) which showed similarity with the standard drugs. Moreover, the curative abilities of the plant roots in treating malaria infection showed that all the treatment groups significantly reduced (P < 0.05) parasite densities in mice when compared with the negative control group with % growth inhibitions as amodiaquine (98.2%) > butanol fraction (90.8%) > artesunate (90.3%) > aqueous fraction (33.8%) etc. Therefore, Nauclea latifolia roots may be used in prophylaxis, suppression of parasite growth as well as in the treatment of malaria.
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