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Parasitol Res. 2014 Apr;113(4):1529-36. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-3797-9. Epub 2014 Feb 19.

Antimalarial efficacy, cytotoxicity, and genotoxicity of methanolic stem bark extract from Hintonia latiflora in a Plasmodium yoelii yoelii lethal murine malaria model.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Malariología, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, DF, 04510, Mexico,


Traditional medicines have been used to treat malaria for thousands of years and are the source of artemisinin and quinine derivatives. With the increasing levels of drug resistance, the high cost of artemisisnin-based combination therapies, and fake antimalarials drugs, traditional medicine have become an important and sustainable source of malaria treatment. For the benefit of those who use traditional medicine to treat malaria, there is an urgent need to study the efficacy and toxicity of herbal remedies. Hintonia latiflora stem bark infusions are use in Mexican traditional medicine to treat malaria, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. Its efficacy in the treatment of complicated malaria and its ability to generate DNA damage to the host is not fully evaluated. In our search for antimalarial natural products, in the present study, we tested the efficacy of H. latiflora stem bark methanolic extract (HlMeOHe) in CD1 male mice infected with lethal Plasmodium yoelii yoelii and its in vivo cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. To assess the antimalarial activity, the extract was evaluated in a 4-day test scheme in oral doses of 1,200, 600, and 300 mg/kg prior acute toxicity test; oral chloroquine (15 mg/kg) was used as positive control. The ability of 1,200 mg/kg of HlMeOHe to induce cytotoxicity and DNA damage in the peripheral blood of mice was assessed using a fluorochrome-mediated viability test and the micronucleus (MN) assay; N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) was used as a positive control. HlMeOHe median acute toxicity (LD₅₀) was 2,783.71 mg/kg and LD10 was 1,293.76 mg/kg (taken as the highest work dose). Plasmodium yoelii yoelii-infected mice in the untreated control group died between 6 and 7 days post-infection (PI) with parasitemia over 70%. Even though mice treated with 600 and 300 mg/kg showed a chemosuppression percentage of total parasitemia of 99.23 and 23.66, respectively, animals in both groups died 6 to 7 days PI with parasitemia over 45%. A 4-day dosage of 1,200 mg/kg of the extract showed, in the P. yoelii yoelii-infected mice, a 100% chemosuppression of total parasitemia on 5 days PI and a 23 days survival time with a mean parasitemia of 23.6% at the date of death. Only mice treated with chloroquine survived until the end of the experiment. Cell viability was not affected. The average number of micronuclei in the treated mice increased significantly (P < 0.05) to 4.8 MN when compared with the untreated control group (0.9 MN). The results obtained in this study showed that the infection outcome of P. yoelii yoelii-infected mice is affected by HlMeOHe. Although a concentration of 1,200 mg/kg of HlMeOHe is suitable to use in the treatment of malaria fever, slowed down the parasite replication, retarded the patency time, and increased the infected P. yoelii yoelii mice survival time, its chemical composition should be studied in detail in order to reduce its genotoxic potential.

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