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Pharmacogn Mag. 2015 May;11(Suppl 1):S102-9. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.157707.

Flavonoid profile, antioxidant and cytotoxic activity of different extracts from Algerian Rhamnus alaternus L. bark.

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Laboratory of Phytotherapy Applied to Chronic Diseases, Department of Biology and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Nature Sciences and Life, University Setif 1, 19000, Algeria.
Department of Drug Sciences and Health Products, University of Messina, Viale Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Messina, Italy.
Department of Human Pathology, Laboratory of Immunology and Biotherapy, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Department of Environmental Science, Territorial, Food and Health Security, University of Messina, Viale F. Stagno d'Alcontres 31, 98166 Messina, Italy.



Rhamnus alaternus (Rhamnaceae) L. has been traditionally used for treatment of many diseases.


In this study, we determined the antioxidant/free radical scavenger properties, the flavonoid profile and the cytotoxicity of aqueous and methanolic extracts obtained by maceration from Algerian R. alaternus bark, like also of aqueous extract prepared by decoction according to the traditional method. This to estimate the usefulness of the drug traditional preparation and compare it with those made in the laboratory.


The antioxidant activity of the extracts was evaluated using five different redox-based assays, all involving one redox reaction with the oxidant. High-performance liquid chromatography/diode array detection/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry analysis was used to identify and quantify the flavonoids content. Cytotoxicity on human monocytic leukemia cells (U937) was also carried out.


All the extracts tested showed a good antioxidant/free radical scavenger activity and a similar flavonoid fingerprint. However, the methanolic one presented the best antioxidant activity that can be due to the highest flavonoid amount and significantly reduced the proliferation of leukemia cells. The results confirm that the extract prepared by decoction contains efficient antioxidant compounds and this justifies in part the therapeutic and preventive usefulness. Moreover, the methanolic extract exerted excellent cytotoxicity on U937 that could be attributed to kaempferol and rhamnocitrin glycosides.


Antioxidant activity; Rhamnus alaternus L; U937 cancer cells; cytotoxicity; folk medicine

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