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Exp Parasitol. 2017 Apr;175:59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2017.02.012. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

Anti-Leishmania activity of essential oil of Myracrodruon urundeuva (Engl.) Fr. All.: Composition, cytotoxity and possible mechanisms of action.

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Medicinal Plants Research Center, Federal University of Piauí, 64049-550, Teresina, PI, Brazil. Electronic address:
Medicinal Plants Research Center, Federal University of Piauí, 64049-550, Teresina, PI, Brazil.
Department of Chemistry, Federal University of Piauí, 64049-550, Teresina, PI, Brazil.


Myracrodruon urundeuva (Engl.) Fr. All., commonly known as "aroeira-do-sertão", is a medicinal plant from Anacardiaceae family. In this study, the chemical composition of M. urundeuva essential oil (MuEO) was evaluated by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), as well as its anti-Leishmania potential, cytotoxicity, and macrophage activation capability as possible antiprotozoal mechanism of action were assessed. Fourteen compounds were identified, which constituted 94.87% of total oil composition. The most abundant components were monoterpenes (80.35%), with β-myrcene (42.46%), α-myrcene (37.23%), and caryophyllene (4.28%) as the major constituents. The MuEO inhibited the growth of promastigotes (IC50 205 ± 13.4 μg mL-1), axenic amastigotes (IC50 104.5 ± 11.82 μg mL-1) and decreased percentage of macrophage infection and number of amastigotes per macrophage (IC50 of 44.5 ± 4.37 μg⋅mL-1), suggesting significant anti-Leishmania activity. The cytotoxicity of MuEO was assessed by MTT test in Balb/c murine macrophages and by human erythrocytes lysis assay and low cytotoxicity for these cells was observed. The CC50 value against macrophages were 550 ± 29.21 μg mL-1, while cytotoxicity for erythrocytes was around 20% at the highest concentration assessed, with HC50 > 800 μg mL-1. While MuEO-induced anti-Leishmania activity is not mediated by increases in both lysosomal activity and nitric oxide production in macrophages, the results suggest the antiamastigote activity is associated with an immunomodulatory activity of macrophages due to an increase of phagocytic capability induced by MuEO. Thus, MuEO presented significant activity against Leishmania amazonensis, probably modulating the activation of macrophages, with low cytotoxicity to murine macrophages and human erythrocytes.


Anti-Leishmania activity; Cytotoxity; Essential oil; Leishmania amazonensis; Myracrodruon urundeuva

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