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Antimycobacterial screening of traditional medicinal plants using the microplate resazurin assay

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Multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains have rapidly become a global health concern. North American First Nations communities have used traditional medicines for generations to treat many pulmonary infections. In this study, we evaluated the antimycobacterial activity of 5 medicinal plants traditionally used as general therapeutics for pulmonary illnesses and specifically as treatments for tuberculosis. Aqueous extracts of Aralia nudicaulis, Symplocarpus foetidus, Heracleum maximum, Juniperus communis, and Acorus calamus were screened for antimycobacterial activity against Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Mycobacterium avium, and M. tuberculosis H37Ra using the colorimetric microplate resazurin assay. Extracts of Acorus calamus and H. maximum root demonstrated significant antimycobacterial activity comparable to that of the rifampin control (2 µg/mL). Evaluation of the cytotoxicity of these 2 extracts using the MTT assay also showed that the extracts were less toxic to 3 human cell lines than was the DMSO positive control. This study demonstrates that aqueous extracts of the roots of H. maximum and Acorus calamus possess strong in vitro antimycobacterial activity, validates traditional knowledge, and provides potential for the development of urgently needed novel antituberculous therapeutics.

Les souches de Mycobacterium tuberculosis multirésistantes aux antibiotiques sont rapidement devenues un enjeu de santé mondiale. Les communautés des Premières Nations d’Amérique du Nord ont utilisé des médicaments traditionnels depuis plusieurs générations pour traiter divers types d’infection pulmonaire. Dans cette étude, nous avons évalué l’activité anti-mycobactérienne de 5 plantes médicinales utilisées traditionnellement comme médicaments généraux contre les maladies pulmonaires, et spécifiquement comme traitement de la tuberculose. Des extraits aqueux de Aralia nudicaulis, Symplocarpus foetidus, Heracleum maximum, Juniperus communis et Acorus calamus ont été testés relativement à leur activité anti-mycobactérienne envers le Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, Mycobacterium avium et M. tuberculosis H37Ra, par un dosage colorimétrique à la résazurine sur microplaque. Les extraits de racines de Acorus calamus et de H. maximum ont démontré une activité anti-mycobactérienne significative, comparable à celle de la rifampicine (3 µm/mL) utilisée comme contrôle. L’évaluation de la cytotoxicité de ces 2 extraits à l’aide d’un dosage au MTT a aussi montré qu’ils étaient moins toxiques envers 3 lignées cellulaires humaines que le DMSO utilisé comme contrôle positif. Cette étude démontre que les extraits aqueux de racines de H. maximum et de Acorus calamus possèdent une forte activité anti-mycobactérienne, confirmant les savoirs traditionnels, et elle ouvre la voie au développement de nouveaux agents anti-tuberculeux, impérieusement nécessaires.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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