The search for new antimalarial agents in plant crude extracts using traditional screening tests is time-consuming and expensive. New in vitro alternative techniques, based on specific metabolic or enzymatic process, have recently been developed to circumvent testing of antimalarial activity in parasite culture. The haem polymerisation inhibition test (HPIA) was proposed as a possible routine in vitro assay for the detection of antimalarial activity in natural products. A total of 178 plant extracts from the Pharmacopeia of the Bolivian ethnia Tacana, were screened for their ability to inhibit the polymerisation of haematin. Five extracts from Aloysia virgata (Ruiz and Pavon) A.L. Jussieu (Verbenaceae), Bixa orellana L. (Bixaceae), Caesalpinia pluviosa D.C. (Caesalpiniaceae), Mascagnia stannea (Griseb) Nied. (Malpighiaceae) and Trichilia pleenea (Adr. Jussieu) (Meliaceae) demonstrated more than 70% inhibition of haematin polymerisation at 2.5 mg/ml. The extracts were also tested for antimalarial activity in culture against F32 strain (chloroquine-sensitive) and D2 strain (chloroquine-resistant) of Plasmodium falciparum and in vivo against P. berghei. The extract from Caesalpinia pluviosa was the only one that showed activity in HPIA and in the classical test in culture. The accuracy and pertinence of HPIA, applied to natural products is discussed. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The project was financed by the International Foundation for Science and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement.
- Antimalarial drugs
- Plant extracts