Immune modulatory effect of Dichrostachys cinerea, Carpobrotus dimidiatus, Capparis tomentosa and Leonotis leonurus
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Dichrostachys cinerea, Carpobrotus dimidiatus, Capparis tomentosa and Leonotis leonurus are all plants that are indigenous to South Africa. These plants are used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments. However, there is little or no scientific data to justify these traditional uses. Furthermore, it is difficult to reconcile traditional knowledge with scientific evidence because of the overwhelming targeting of signal-responsive systems by plant defensive compounds, multiple sites of action and the connectedness of the signaling pathways, which provide many cures and have pleiotropic effects. In order to evaluate the action spectrum of these plants, and validate its widespread use, this research evaluated the antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mosquito and immunomodulatory properties of these plants. Antimicrobial activity of the extract was determined by evaluating the bactericidal and fungicidal action using the agar disc diffusion assay. Anti-oxidative properties of the extracts were tested using the DPPH photometric assay. Anti-inflammatory properties were carried out using the 5-lipoxygenase assay. The larvicidal, repellency and insecticidal assay was determined against A.arabiensis. The safe use of these plant extracts was determined by evaluating toxicity, a brine shrimp lethality assay and an in vitro cell culture system using human myelogenous leukemia cell line. Potential carcinogenic activity was evaluated using the Ames Salmonella Mutagenecity assay. The immunomodulatory activity of the extracts on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells 6 was evaluated on freshly harvested lymphocytes using the MTT assay. Cytokine response was evaluated by measuring the secretion of interferon-gamma and interleukin-10. Elucidation of the B cells, T cells, activated T cells, CD 4+, CD 8+ and NK cells was performed by flow cytometry. The extracts showed anti-microbial activity against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella oxytoca, Salmonella typhimurium, Serratia marcescens, Bacillus cereus and Tricoderm sp. The highest activity was shown by methanolic and aqueous extracts of L. leonurus leaves followed by methanolic and aqueous extracts of D. cinerea. Extracts of C. tomentosa and D.cinerea demonstrated a higher degree of free radical scavenging than rutin, which was used as a standard indicating that these plants have strong antioxidant properties. None of the plants showed significant anti-inflammatory activity when compared to NDGA. In the anti-mosquito assays, the extracts showed strong repellency and insecticidal activity. L. leonurus extracts demonstrated the highest insecticidal and repellency activity against the mosquito, and was also found to cause ‗knockdown‘ and mortality. The extracts display no toxicity, cytotoxicity and mutagenicity. The immunological studies for immune modulation showed that the methanol extracts of these plants induce a Th1- predominant immune response because they significantly suppressed the secretion of IL-10 and augment IFN-γ production, which are hallmarks used to indicate a stimulation of the innate immune response. This study also provides new information, with respect to the potential use of these plants in producing a mosquito repellent and an immunostimulant.