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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Jul 16;16:221. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1207-9.

Beneficial effect of Punica granatum peel extract on murine malaria-induced spleen injury.

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Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Zoology, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Zoology and Entomology, Faculty of Science, Helwan University, Helwan, Egypt.
Department of Zoology, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Multiple drug-resistant malaria parasites have been widely detected, which has encouraged research studies focused on discovering alternative therapies. Medicinal plants such as pomegranate, Punica granatum, have been proven to exhibit antiprotozoal effects and therefore, we examined its effects on murine malaria-induced splenic injury and oxidative stress in this study.


Mice were divided into three groups, a vehicle control and two groups that were infected with 10(6) Plasmodium chabaudi-parasitized red blood cells (RBCs). The third group was gavaged with 100 μL of 300 mg/kg pomegranate peel extract for 6 days. All mice were euthanized on day 6 post-infection.


The results revealed the potential antimalarial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate. Furthermore, pomegranate peel extracts significantly reduced parasitemia and spleen index of the treated mice compared to the untreated group. Additionally, the spleen histology score supported the findings by showing better amelioration in the pomegranate-treated mice than in the untreated mice. Concomitantly, the spleen capsule thickness showed clear evidence of splenomegaly in the untreated mice, as evidenced by the reduced spleen capsule. However, pomegranate peel extract exhibited a remarkable restorative effect on the spleen capsules of the treated mice. Moreover, the extract significantly reduced the expression levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and interferon (IFN)-γ as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Moreover, our study showed that pomegranate extract profoundly affected oxidative stress levels by reducing the oxidant molecules, nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA).


This study showed that pomegranate clearly induced antimalarial activity in the host by attenuating inflammatory and oxidative stress responses. Furthermore, pomegranate enhanced the innate immune responses and, therefore, could serve an alternative therapy to control clinical malaria episodes and may protect against malaria infection.


Apoptosis; Oxidative stress; Plasmodium chabaudi; Pomegranate

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