Antischistosomal, antionchocercal and antitrypanosomal potentials of some Ghanaian traditional medicines and their constituents.
BACKGROUND: Ghana is endemic for some neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) including schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. The major intervention for these diseases is mass drug administration of a few repeatedly recycled drugs which is a cause for major concern due to reduced efficacy of the drugs and the emergence of drug resistance. Evidently, new treatments are needed urgently. Medicinal plants, on the other hand, have a reputable history as important sources of potent therapeutic agents in the treatment of various diseases among African populations, Ghana inclusively, and provide very useful starting points for the discovery of much-needed new or alternative drugs.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, extracts of fifteen traditional medicines used for treating various NTDs in local communities were screened in vitro for efficacy against schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and African trypanosomiasis. Two extracts, NTD-B4-DCM and NTD-B7-DCM, prepared from traditional medicines used to treat schistosomiasis, displayed the highest activity (IC50 = 30.5 μg/mL and 30.8 μg/mL, respectively) against Schistosoma mansoni adult worms. NTD-B2-DCM, also obtained from an antischistosomal remedy, was the most active against female and male adult Onchocera ochengi worms (IC50 = 76.2 μg/mL and 76.7 μg/mL, respectively). Antitrypanosomal assay of the extracts against Trypanosoma brucei brucei gave the most promising results (IC50 = 5.63 μg/mL to 18.71 μg/mL). Incidentally, NTD-B4-DCM and NTD-B2-DCM, also exhibited the greatest antitrypanosomal activities (IC50 = 5.63 μg/mL and 7.12 μg/mL, respectively). Following the favourable outcome of the antitrypanosomal screening, this assay was selected for bioactivity-guided fractionation. NTD-B4-DCM, the most active extract, was fractionated and subsequent isolation of bioactive constituents led to an eupatoriochromene-rich oil (42.6%) which was 1.3-fold (IC50 <0.0977 μg/mL) more active than the standard antitrypanosomal drug, diminazene aceturate (IC50 = 0.13 μg/mL).
CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings justify the use of traditional medicines and demonstrate their prospects towards NTDs drug discovery.