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J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun 13;112(2):410-4. Epub 2007 Mar 24.

Spirolactone iridoids might be responsible for the antileishmanial activity of a Peruvian traditional remedy made with Himatanthus sucuuba (Apocynaceae).

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Instituto de Medicina Tropical "Alexander von Humboldt", Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), Av. Honorio Delgado 430, SMP, Lima, Peru.


Extracts of seven medicinal plants used specifically against cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Madre de Dios region of Peru were evaluated in vitro against promastigote and axenic amastigote forms of Leishmania amazonensis. One of them showed interesting leishmanicidal activities (IC(50)=5 microg/ml in amastigotes). Bio-guided isolation of the stem bark's ethanol extract of Himatanthus sucuuba (Spruce ex Müll. Arg.) Woodson (Apocynaceae) afforded the spirolactone iridoids isoplumericin and plumericin. The latter showed a reduction of macrophage infection similar to that of the reference drug Amphotericin B (IC(50)=0.9 and 1 microM, respectively). These findings validate the traditional use of Himatanthus sucuuba in the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis (Uta) in Peru.

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