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Chin Med. 2014 Jan 17;9(1):4. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-9-4.

Anti-infective and cytotoxic properties of Bupleurum marginatum.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.



Bupleurum marginatum Wall. ex DC (Apiaceae) is a perennial herb widely used in traditional Chinese and Kampo medicine for the treatment of various infectious diseases. The biological activities of B. marginatum have not been fully investigated. This study aims to investigate the antitrypanosomal, antimicrobial and antiviral activities of methanol (ME) and dichloromethane (DCM) extracts of B. marginatum aerial parts and the ability of both extracts to inhibit the growth of different cancer cell lines.


Phytochemical characterization of the extracts was performed by LC-MS profiling. The antitrypanosomal activity was evaluated using the resazurin method. The antimicrobial activity was assessed using agar diffusion and microdilution methods, and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values were determined. The antiviral activity was determined for 6.25, 12.5, and 50 μg/mL doses using a plaque reduction assay. Cytotoxicity was investigated in eight cancer cell lines (Caco-2, CCL-81, CCRF-CEM, COS-7, HL-60, MIA PaCa-2, MCF-7, and PANC-1) using the MTT assay and the caspase 3/7 activity was determined over the range of 62.5-1000 μg/mL.


Phytochemical analyses resulted in the characterization of 15 components, mainly flavonoids and lignans. The DCM extract showed significant antitrypanosomal activity (IC50: 36.21 μg/mL) and moderate activity against Streptococcus pyogenes (MIC value: 0.25 mg/mL). At a dose of 12.5 μg/mL, the DCM extract inhibited 73.6% of the plaque production by hepatitis A virus. CCRF-CEM cells were the most sensitive to both extracts (IC50: 12.5-22.7 μg/mL). The cytotoxicity was mediated by induction of apoptosis (19-fold increase in the cellular caspase 3/7 level after treatment with the DCM extract at 1 mg/mL).


ME and DCM extract of B. marginatum showed anti-infective and antiproliferative effects.

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