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Special Issue "Plant Extracts: Biological and Pharmacological Activity—the Second Edition"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Capasso
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultiral Science, Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: pharmacology; natural products; neurotransmission; behavioral pharmacology; experimental pharmacology; preclinical pharmacology; CB1 receptor; PPARs; cannabinoids; endocannabinoids; CB2 receptor
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Lorenzo Di Cesare Mannelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Florence, Italy
Interests: pharmacology; medicinal plants; chronic pain; nervous system pathologies and treatment; glia; cholinergic receptors; opioid receptors
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the success of the first edition of the Special Issue “Plant Extracts: Biological and Pharmacological Activity”, we have launched a second edition.

The use of plant extracts in therapy dates back many years. Plant extracts have been commonly used over the years to treat and prevent chronic and acute diseases and promote health. Although many plant extracts have been studied, many others have not. Therefore, a Special Issue on the pharmacology of plant extracts is timely.

This Special Issue aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest discoveries in plant extract products with an emphasis on pharmacological activity. We cordially invite authors to contribute original research articles, as well as reviews, that help to unravel the biological activities of naturally occurring products and create opportunities for their future use.

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Capasso
Dr. Lorenzo Di Cesare Mannelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • plant extracts
  • medicinal plants
  • biological activity
  • medical use
  • plant side effects
  • pharmacological interactions

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Research

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Article
Standardized Extract of Asparagus officinalis Stem Attenuates SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein-Induced IL-6 and IL-1β Production by Suppressing p44/42 MAPK and Akt Phosphorylation in Murine Primary Macrophages
Molecules 2021, 26(20), 6189; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26206189 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 167
Abstract
Excessive host inflammation following infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with severity and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recently reported that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 subunit (S1) induces pro-inflammatory responses by activating toll-like receptor 4 [...] Read more.
Excessive host inflammation following infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with severity and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We recently reported that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 subunit (S1) induces pro-inflammatory responses by activating toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling in macrophages. A standardized extract of Asparagus officinalis stem (EAS) is a unique functional food that elicits anti-photoaging effects by suppressing pro-inflammatory signaling in hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet B-exposed skin fibroblasts. To elucidate its potential in preventing excessive inflammation in COVID-19, we examined the effects of EAS on pro-inflammatory responses in S1-stimulated macrophages. Murine peritoneal exudate macrophages were co-treated with EAS and S1. Concentrations and mRNA levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcription and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Expression and phosphorylation levels of signaling proteins were analyzed using western blotting and fluorescence immunomicroscopy. EAS significantly attenuated S1-induced secretion of interleukin (IL)-6 in a concentration-dependent manner without reducing cell viability. EAS also markedly suppressed the S1-induced transcription of IL-6 and IL-1β. However, among the TLR4 signaling proteins, EAS did not affect the degradation of inhibitor κBα, nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-κB p65 subunit, and phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase p54 subunit after S1 exposure. In contrast, EAS significantly suppressed S1-induced phosphorylation of p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt. Attenuation of S1-induced transcription of IL-6 and IL-1β by the MAPK kinase inhibitor U0126 was greater than that by the Akt inhibitor perifosine, and the effects were potentiated by simultaneous treatment with both inhibitors. These results suggest that EAS attenuates S1-induced IL-6 and IL-1β production by suppressing p44/42 MAPK and Akt signaling in macrophages. Therefore, EAS may be beneficial in regulating excessive inflammation in patients with COVID-19. Full article
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Article
Anti-Herpes Simplex 1 Activity of Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Wax
Molecules 2021, 26(19), 6059; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26196059 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 320
Abstract
Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) Schneider) wax is used for various dermatological and pharmaceutical applications. Several reports have previously shown beneficial properties of Jojoba wax and extracts, including antimicrobial activity. The current research aimed to elucidate the impact of Jojoba wax on skin [...] Read more.
Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis (Link) Schneider) wax is used for various dermatological and pharmaceutical applications. Several reports have previously shown beneficial properties of Jojoba wax and extracts, including antimicrobial activity. The current research aimed to elucidate the impact of Jojoba wax on skin residential bacterial (Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis), fungal (Malassezia furfur), and virus infection (herpes simplex 1; HSV-1). First, the capacity of four commercial wax preparations to attenuate their growth was evaluated. The results suggest that the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Malassezia furfur was unaffected by Jojoba in pharmacologically relevant concentrations. However, the wax significantly attenuated HSV-1 plaque formation. Next, a complete dose–response analysis of four different Jojoba varieties (Benzioni, Shiloah, Hatzerim, and Sheva) revealed a similar anti-viral effect with high potency (EC50 of 0.96 ± 0.4 µg/mL) that blocked HSV-1 plaque formation. The antiviral activity of the wax was also confirmed by real-time PCR, as well as viral protein expression by immunohistochemical staining. Chemical characterization of the fatty acid and fatty alcohol composition was performed, showing high similarity between the wax of the investigated varieties. Lastly, our results demonstrate that the observed effects are independent of simmondsin, repeatedly associated with the medicinal impact of Jojoba wax, and that Jojoba wax presence is required to gain protection against HSV-1 infection. Collectively, our results support the use of Jojoba wax against HSV-1 skin infections. Full article
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Article
Inhibitory Effect of Osthole from Cnidium monnieri (L.) Cusson on Fusarium oxysporum, a Common Fungal Pathogen of Potato
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3818; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26133818 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Fusarium wilt of potato is one of the most common diseases of potato in China, and is becoming a serious threat in potato production. It has been reported that osthole from Cnidium monnieri (L.) Cusson can inhibit plant pathogens. Here, we [...] Read more.
Fusarium wilt of potato is one of the most common diseases of potato in China, and is becoming a serious threat in potato production. It has been reported that osthole from Cnidium monnieri (L.) Cusson can inhibit plant pathogens. Here, we test the anti-fungal activity of C. monnieri osthole against Fusarium oxysporum in potatoes. The results showed that at a concentration of 5 mg/mL, osthole was able to obviously inhibit mycelial growth of F. oxysporum. We found that osthole caused changes of mycelial morphology, notably hyphal swelling and darkening. Osthole significantly reduced the spore germination of Fusarium by 57.40%. In addition, osthole also inhibited the growth of other pathogens such as Fusarium moniliforme J. Sheld, Thanatephorus cucumeris Donk, and Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissl, but not Alternaria solani Jonesetgrout and Valsa mali Miyabe and G. Yamada. Our results suggest that osthole has considerable potential as an agent for the prevention and treatment of potato Fusarium wilt. Full article
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Article
The Chemical Compositions, and Antibacterial and Antioxidant Activities of Four Types of Citrus Essential Oils
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3412; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26113412 - 04 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
Nanfeng mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. Kinokuni), Xunwu mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco), Yangshuo kumquats (Citrus japonica Thunb) and physiologically dropped navel oranges (Citrus sinensis Osbeck cv. Newhall) were used as materials to extract peel essential oils (EOs) via hydrodistillation. [...] Read more.
Nanfeng mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco cv. Kinokuni), Xunwu mandarins (Citrus reticulata Blanco), Yangshuo kumquats (Citrus japonica Thunb) and physiologically dropped navel oranges (Citrus sinensis Osbeck cv. Newhall) were used as materials to extract peel essential oils (EOs) via hydrodistillation. The chemical composition, and antibacterial and antioxidant activities of the EOs were investigated. GC-MS analysis showed that monoterpene hydrocarbons were the major components and limonene was the predominate compound for all citrus EOs. The antibacterial testing of EOs against five different bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella typhimurium) was carried out using the filter paper method and the broth microdilution method. Kumquat EO had the best inhibitory effect on B. subtilis, E. coli and S. typhimurium with MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) values of 1.56, 1.56 and 6.25 µL/mL, respectively. All citrus EOs showed the antioxidant activity of scavenging DPPH and ABTS free radicals in a dose-dependent manner. Nanfeng mandarin EO presented the best antioxidant activity, with IC50 values of 15.20 mg/mL for the DPPH assay and 0.80 mg/mL for the ABTS assay. The results also showed that the antibacterial activities of EOs might not be related to their antioxidant activities. Full article
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Article
Quorum Sensing and NF-κB Inhibition of Synthetic Coumaperine Derivatives from Piper nigrum
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2293; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26082293 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 590
Abstract
Bacterial communication, termed Quorum Sensing (QS), is a promising target for virulence attenuation and the treatment of bacterial infections. Infections cause inflammation, a process regulated by a number of cellular factors, including the transcription Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB); this factor is found [...] Read more.
Bacterial communication, termed Quorum Sensing (QS), is a promising target for virulence attenuation and the treatment of bacterial infections. Infections cause inflammation, a process regulated by a number of cellular factors, including the transcription Nuclear Factor kappa B (NF-κB); this factor is found to be upregulated in many inflammatory diseases, including those induced by bacterial infection. In this study, we tested 32 synthetic derivatives of coumaperine (CP), a known natural compound found in pepper (Piper nigrum), for Quorum Sensing Inhibition (QSI) and NF-κB inhibitory activities. Of the compounds tested, seven were found to have high QSI activity, three inhibited bacterial growth and five inhibited NF-κB. In addition, some of the CP compounds were active in more than one test. For example, compounds CP-286, CP-215 and CP-158 were not cytotoxic, inhibited NF-κB activation and QS but did not show antibacterial activity. CP-154 inhibited QS, decreased NF-κB activation and inhibited bacterial growth. Our results indicate that these synthetic molecules may provide a basis for further development of novel therapeutic agents against bacterial infections. Full article
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Article
Phenolic Compounds and Bioactive Properties of Ruscus aculeatus L. (Asparagaceae): The Pharmacological Potential of an Underexploited Subshrub
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1882; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26071882 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Ruscus aculeatus L. is a subshrub used in traditional medicine in different parts of the world, namely in Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. According to reported folk knowledge, the aerial parts are mainly used as diuretics and the underground organs are used for [...] Read more.
Ruscus aculeatus L. is a subshrub used in traditional medicine in different parts of the world, namely in Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. According to reported folk knowledge, the aerial parts are mainly used as diuretics and the underground organs are used for the treatment of disorders of the urinary system and as a laxative. In this work, the aerial part and the roots and rhizomes of R. aculeatus were chemically characterized with regard to the content of phenolic compounds and bioactive properties. Aqueous (infusions and decoctions) preparations and hydroethanolic extracts from the two mentioned parts of the plant were prepared. Nine phenolic compounds were detected in all the extracts. Apigenin-C-hexoside-C-pentoside isomer II was the major compound in aqueous extracts and, in the hydroethanolic extract was quercetin-O-deoxyhexoside-hexoside followed by apigenin-C-hexoside-C-pentoside isomer II. All extracts revealed antioxidant activity and potential to inhibit some of the assayed bacteria; aqueous extracts of the aerial part and infusions of roots and rhizomes did not show cytotoxic effects on a non-tumor primary cell culture. This preliminary study provides suggestions of the biological potential associated with the empirical uses and knowledge of this species, in particular its bioactivities. Full article
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Article
Extract from the Marine Seaweed Padina pavonica Protects Mitochondrial Biomembranes from Damage by Amyloidogenic Peptides
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26051444 - 07 Mar 2021
Viewed by 900
Abstract
The identification of compounds which protect the double-membrane of mitochondrial organelles from disruption by toxic confomers of amyloid proteins may offer a therapeutic strategy to combat human neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we exploited an extract from the marine brown seaweed Padina pavonica (PPE) as [...] Read more.
The identification of compounds which protect the double-membrane of mitochondrial organelles from disruption by toxic confomers of amyloid proteins may offer a therapeutic strategy to combat human neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we exploited an extract from the marine brown seaweed Padina pavonica (PPE) as a vital source of natural bioactive compounds to protect mitochondrial membranes against insult by oligomeric aggregates of the amyloidogenic proteins amyloid-β (Aβ), α-synuclein (α-syn) and tau, which are currently considered to be major targets for drug discovery in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). We show that PPE manifested a significant inhibitory effect against swelling of isolated mitochondria exposed to the amyloid oligomers, and attenuated the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria. Using cardiolipin-enriched synthetic lipid membranes, we also show that dye leakage from fluorophore-loaded vesicles and formation of channel-like pores in planar bilayer membranes are largely prevented by incubating the oligomeric aggregates with PPE. Lastly, we demonstrate that PPE curtails the ability of Aβ42 and α-syn monomers to self-assemble into larger β-aggregate structures, as well as potently disrupts their respective amyloid fibrils. In conclusion, the mito-protective and anti-aggregator biological activities of Padina pavonica extract may be of therapeutic value in neurodegenerative proteinopathies, such as AD and PD. Full article
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Article
In Vitro Phytotherapeutic Properties of Aqueous Extracted Adenia viridiflora Craib. towards Civilization Diseases
Molecules 2021, 26(4), 1082; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26041082 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
Adenia viridiflora Craib. is an indigenous edible plant that became an endangered species due to limited consumption of the local population with unknown reproduction and growth conditions. The plant is used as a traditional herb; however, its health applications lack scientific-based evidence. A. [...] Read more.
Adenia viridiflora Craib. is an indigenous edible plant that became an endangered species due to limited consumption of the local population with unknown reproduction and growth conditions. The plant is used as a traditional herb; however, its health applications lack scientific-based evidence. A. viridiflora Craib. plant parts (old leaves and young shoots) from four areas as Kamphaeng Phet (KP), Muang Nakhon Ratchasima (MN), Pakchong Nakhon Ratchasima (PN), and Uthai Thani (UT) origins were investigated for phenolic compositions and in vitro health properties through the inhibition of key enzymes relevant to obesity (lipase), diabetes (α-glucosidase and dipeptidyl peptidase-IV), Alzheimer’s disease (cholinesterases and β-secretase), and hypertension (angiotensin-converting enzyme). Phenolics including p-coumaric acid, sinapic acid, naringenin, and apigenin were detected in old leaves and young shoots in all plant origins. Old leaves exhibited higher total phenolic contents (TPCs) and total flavonoid contents (TFCs), leading to higher enzyme inhibitory activities than young shoots. Besides, PN and MN with higher TPCs and TFCs tended to exhibit greater enzyme inhibitory activities than others. These results will be useful to promote this plant as a healthy food with valuable medicinal capacities to support its consumption and agricultural stimulation, leading to sustainable conservation of this endangered species. Full article
Article
Caralluma europaea (Guss.) N.E.Br.: Anti-Inflammatory, Antifungal, and Antibacterial Activities against Nosocomial Antibiotic-Resistant Microbes of Chemically Characterized Fractions
Molecules 2021, 26(3), 636; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26030636 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
Caralluma europaea (Guss.) N.E.Br.: (C. europaea) is a wild medicinal plant belonging to the family Apocynaceae. It is commonly used in traditional medicines for treating several diseases. The present work aims to evaluate the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal potentials of C. [...] Read more.
Caralluma europaea (Guss.) N.E.Br.: (C. europaea) is a wild medicinal plant belonging to the family Apocynaceae. It is commonly used in traditional medicines for treating several diseases. The present work aims to evaluate the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal potentials of C. europaea fractions including hydro ethanol (ET CE), n-butanol (But CE), and polyphenol (Poly CE). The chemical composition of hydroethanol, n-butanol, and polyphenol-rich fractions from C. europaea were determined using GC-MS after silylation. The anti-inflammatory effect of hydroethanol, n-butanol, and polyphenol-rich fractions was studied by carrageenan-induced paw edema. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of hydroethanol, n-butanol, and polyphenol-rich fractions against Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, and yeasts were assessed using the disc diffusion and micro-dilution assays. The findings of the chemical characterization affirmed the presence of interesting bioactive compounds in C. europaea fractions. The polyphenol-rich fraction was the best inhibitor of edema by75.68% after 6 h of treatment. The hydroethanol fraction was the most active against both bacteria and yeasts. This study contributes to society as it provides potential bioactive compounds in C. europaea extract, which may help in fighting nosocomial antibiotic-resistant microbes. Full article
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Article
Subacute Assessment of the Toxicity and Antidepressant-Like Effects of Origanum Majorana L. Polyphenols in Swiss Albino Mice
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5653; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25235653 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 665
Abstract
Origanum majorana L. is a plant commonly used in folk medicine to treat depression and several neurological disorders. This study aims to evaluate the antidepressant-like effect of the Origanum majorana L. polyphenols (OMP) obtained from the aerial parts using two different depression model [...] Read more.
Origanum majorana L. is a plant commonly used in folk medicine to treat depression and several neurological disorders. This study aims to evaluate the antidepressant-like effect of the Origanum majorana L. polyphenols (OMP) obtained from the aerial parts using two different depression model tests: The forced swimming test (FST) and the tail suspension test (TST) in Swiss albino mice. The experiments were performed on days 1, 7, 14, and 21 with daily administration of different treatments. Two different doses were chosen for this study (50 and 100 mg/kg), and paroxetine was used as a positive control. Immobility as a consequence of the depression state was significantly reduced following the treatment with OMP, indicating an antidepressant effect. A subacute toxicity study was also performed following the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines (407), showing no sign of toxicity for the studied doses. The phytochemical screening revealed the presence of 12 components, all belonging to polyphenols: Arbutin, rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid, quercetin-3-O-glucoside, quercetin-7-O-glucuronic acid, luteolin-7-O-glucoside, kaempferol-3-0-glucuronic acid, Kaempferol-3-0-pentose, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, and rutin. These findings suggest that O. majorana has interesting antidepressant-like properties, which deserve further investigation. Full article
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Article
Anacyclus pyrethrum (L): Chemical Composition, Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, and Wound Healing Properties
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5469; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25225469 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Background: Anacyclus pyrethrum (A. pyrethrum) is a wild species belonging to the family Asteraceae, which is used in traditional medicines. Aim of the study: This work was undertaken to study the chemical composition, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties of hydroalcoholic [...] Read more.
Background: Anacyclus pyrethrum (A. pyrethrum) is a wild species belonging to the family Asteraceae, which is used in traditional medicines. Aim of the study: This work was undertaken to study the chemical composition, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties of hydroalcoholic extracts of different parts (roots, seeds, leaves, and capitula) of A. pyrethrum. Material and Methods: The phytochemical analysis of the studied extracts was conducted by GC-MS. The analgesic activity was evaluated in mice using acetic acid and formaldehyde methods. The anti-inflammatory activity was tested using the inhibitory method of edema induced in rats. The healing activity of the hydroethanolic extracts was explored by excision and incision wound healing models in rats. Results: The phytochemical analysis of the studied plant extracts affirmed the presence of interesting compounds, including some newly detected elements, such as sarcosine, N-(trifluoroacetyl)-butyl ester, levulinic acid, malonic acid, palmitic acid, morphinan-6-One, 4,5.alpha.-epoxy-3-hydroxy-17-methyl, 2,4-undecadiene-8,10-diyne-N-tyramide, and isovaleric acid. The extracts of different parts (roots, seeds, leaves, and capitula) exhibited promising anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and wound healing effects, with percentages of inhibition up to 98%, 94%, and 100%, respectively. Conclusion: This study might contribute towards the well-being of society as it provides evidence on the potential analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties of A. pyrethrum. Full article
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Article
Anti-Microbial, Anti-Oxidant, and α-Amylase Inhibitory Activity of Traditionally-Used Medicinal Herbs: A Comparative Analyses of Pharmacology, and Phytoconstituents of Regional Halophytic Plants’ Diaspora
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25225457 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Halophytes are the category of plants growing under harsh conditions of super-salinity, and are wide-spread in the coastal Mediterranean climatic conditions and desert oasis. They are adept at surviving through maintaining excessive production of enzymatic, and non-enzymatic secondary metabolites, especially phenolics and flavonoids [...] Read more.
Halophytes are the category of plants growing under harsh conditions of super-salinity, and are wide-spread in the coastal Mediterranean climatic conditions and desert oasis. They are adept at surviving through maintaining excessive production of enzymatic, and non-enzymatic secondary metabolites, especially phenolics and flavonoids that primarily work as anti-oxidants and phytoalexins. Five major halophyte species growing in the kingdom’s Qassim’s high-salted desert regions were investigated for confirming their traditionally used biological activity of sugar-control and anti-infectious properties. In this context, the comparative presence of phenolics, and flavonoids together with anti-microbial, anti-oxidants, and the anti-diabetic potentials of the plants’ extracts were investigated through the α-amylase inhibition method. The highest concentrations of phenolics and flavonoids were detected in Salsola imbricata (360 mg/g of the extract as Gallic-Acid-Equivalents/GAE, and 70.5 mg/g of the extract as Rutin-Equivalents/RE). In contrast, the lowest concentrations of phenolics and flavonoids were detected in Salsola cyclophylla (126.6 mg/g GAE, and 20.5 mg/g RE). The halophytes were found rich in trace elements, a factor for water-retention in high-salinity plants, wherein iron and zinc elements were found comparatively in higher concentrations in Aeluropus lagopoides (4113 µg/kg, and 40.1 µg/kg, respectively), while the copper was detected in higher concentration (11.1 µg/kg) in S. imbricata, analyzed through Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometric (ICP-OES) analysis. The anti-oxidant potentials and α-amylase enzyme inhibition-based anti-diabetic activity of S. imbricata was significantly higher than the other halophytes under study, wherein S. cyclophylla exhibited the lowest level of α-amylase inhibition. The maximum DPPH radicals’ (52.47 mg/mL), and α-amylase inhibitions (IC50 22.98 µg/mL) were detected in A.lagopoides. The anti-microbial activity against the Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus was strongly exhibited by Zygophyllum simplex (33 mm Inhibition Zone-Diameter, 50 µg/mL Minimum-Inhibitory-Concentration), while Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Candida albicans growths were moderately inhibited by Tamarix aphylla. The current findings exhibited significant differences among the locally distributed halophytic plants species with regards to their bioactivity levels, anti-oxidant potentials, and the presence of trace elements. The ongoing data corroborated the plants’ traditional uses in infections and diabetic conditions. The enhanced local distribution of the plants’ diaspora and higher density of occurrence of these plants species in this region, in comparison to their normal climatic condition’s counterparts, seemed to be affected by humans’ use of the species as part of the traditional and alternative medicine over a period of long time. Full article
Article
Anti-Melanogenic Effects of Ethanol Extracts of the Leaves and Roots of Patrinia villosa (Thunb.) Juss through Their Inhibition of CREB and Induction of ERK and Autophagy
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5375; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25225375 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
Patrinia villosa (Thunb.) Juss is a traditional herb commonly used in East Asia including Korea, Japan, and China. It has been administered to reduce and treat inflammation in Donguibogam, Korea. The mechanism for its anti-inflammatory effects has already been reported. In this study, [...] Read more.
Patrinia villosa (Thunb.) Juss is a traditional herb commonly used in East Asia including Korea, Japan, and China. It has been administered to reduce and treat inflammation in Donguibogam, Korea. The mechanism for its anti-inflammatory effects has already been reported. In this study, we confirmed the efficacy of Patrinia villosa (Thunb.) Juss ethanol extract (Pv-EE) for inducing autophagy and investigate its anti-melanogenic properties. Melanin secretion and content were investigated using cells from the melanoma cell line B16F10. Pv-EE inhibited melanin in melanogenesis induced by α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). The mechanism of inhibition of Pv-EE was confirmed by suppressing the mRNA of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), decreasing the phosphorylation level of CREB, and increasing the phosphorylation of ERK. Finally, it was confirmed that Pv-EE induces autophagy through the autophagy markers LC3B and p62, and that the anti-melanogenic effect of Pv-EE is inhibited by the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyl adenine (3-MA). These results suggest that Pv-EE may be used as a skin protectant due to its anti-melanin properties including autophagy. Full article
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Article
Metabolomic Profiling of Mango (Mangifera indica Linn) Leaf Extract and Its Intestinal Protective Effect and Antioxidant Activity in Different Biological Models
Molecules 2020, 25(21), 5149; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25215149 - 05 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1108
Abstract
Mangifera indica Linn popularly known as mango is used in folk medicine to treat gastrointestinal disorders. The aim of this study was to identify the metabolomic composition of lyophilized extract of mango leaf (MIE), to evaluate the antioxidant activity on several oxidative stress [...] Read more.
Mangifera indica Linn popularly known as mango is used in folk medicine to treat gastrointestinal disorders. The aim of this study was to identify the metabolomic composition of lyophilized extract of mango leaf (MIE), to evaluate the antioxidant activity on several oxidative stress systems (DPPH, FRAP, TBARS, and ABTS), the spasmolytic and antispasmodic activity, and intestinal protective effect on oxidative stress induced by H2O2 in rat ileum. Twenty-nine metabolites were identified and characterized based on their ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) high-resolution orbitrap mass spectrometry, these include: benzophenone derivatives, xanthones, phenolic acids, fatty acids, flavonoids and procyanidins. Extract demonstrated a high antioxidant activity in in-vitro assays. MIE relaxed (p < 0.001) intestinal segments of rat pre-contracted with acetylcholine (ACh) (10−5 M). Pre-incubation of intestinal segments with 100 µg/mL MIE significantly reduced (p < 0.001) the contraction to H2O2. Similar effects were observed with mangiferin and quercetin (10−5 M; p < 0.05) but not for gallic acid. Chronic treatment of rats with MIE (50 mg/kg) for 28 days significantly reduced (p < 0.001) the H2O2-induced contractions. MIE exhibited a strong antioxidant activity, spasmolytic and antispasmodic activity, which could contribute to its use as an alternative for the management of several intestinal diseases related to oxidative stress. Full article
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Article
In-Vivo Antidiabetic Activity and In-Silico Mode of Action of LC/MS-MS Identified Flavonoids in Oleaster Leaves
Molecules 2020, 25(21), 5073; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25215073 - 01 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Background: Olea europea L. subsp. europaea var. sylvestris (Mill) Lehr (Oleaster) is a wild endemic olive tree indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Olea europea leaves represent a natural reservoir of bioactive molecules that can be used for therapeutic purposes. Aim of the study: [...] Read more.
Background: Olea europea L. subsp. europaea var. sylvestris (Mill) Lehr (Oleaster) is a wild endemic olive tree indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Olea europea leaves represent a natural reservoir of bioactive molecules that can be used for therapeutic purposes. Aim of the study: This work was conducted to study antidiabetic and antihyperglycemic activities of flavonoids from oleaster leaves using alloxan-induced diabetic mice. The mode of action of flavonoids against eight receptors that have a high impact on diabetes management and complication was also investigated using molecular docking. Results: During 28 days of mice treatment with doses 25 and 50 mg/kg b.w, the studied flavonoids managed a severe diabetic state (<450 mg/dL), exhibiting a spectacular antidiabetic and antihyperglycemic activity, and improved mice health status compared to diabetic control. The in-silico mode of action of oleaster flavonoids revealed the inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 (DPP4), α-Amylase (AAM), α-Glucosidase inhibition, Aldose reductase (AldR), Glycogen phosphorylase (GP), and the activation of free fatty acid receptor 1 (FFAR1). Conclusion: The findings obtained in the present work indicate that the flavonoids from the oleaster may constitute a safe multi-target remedy to treat diabetes. Full article
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Article
Water Extract of Lotus Leaf Alleviates Dexamethasone-Induced Muscle Atrophy via Regulating Protein Metabolism-Related Pathways in Mice
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4592; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25204592 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1199
Abstract
Muscle atrophy is an abnormal condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function and is primarily caused by injury, malnutrition, various diseases, and aging. Leaf of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn), which has been used for medicinal purposes, contains various active [...] Read more.
Muscle atrophy is an abnormal condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function and is primarily caused by injury, malnutrition, various diseases, and aging. Leaf of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn), which has been used for medicinal purposes, contains various active ingredients, including polyphenols, and is reported to exert an antioxidant effect. In this study, we investigated the effect of water extract of lotus leaf (LL) on muscle atrophy and the underlying molecular mechanisms of action. Amounts of 100, 200, or 300 mg/kg/day LL were administered to dexamethasone (DEX)-induced muscle atrophy mice for 4 weeks. Micro-computed tomography (CT) analysis revealed that the intake of LL significantly increased calf muscle volume, surface area, and density in DEX-induced muscle atrophy mice. Administration of LL recovered moving distance, grip strength, ATP production, and body weight, which were decreased by DEX. In addition, muscle damage caused by DEX was also improved by LL. LL reduced the protein catabolic pathway by suppressing gene expression of muscle atrophy F-Box (MAFbx; atrogin-1), muscle RING finger 1 (MuRF1), and forkhead box O (FoxO)3a, as well as phosphorylation of AMP-activated kinase (AMPK). The AKT-mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) signal pathway, which is important for muscle protein synthesis, was increased in LL-administered groups. The HPLC analysis and pharmacological test revealed that quercetin 3-O-beta-glucuronide (Q3G) is a major active component in LL. Thus, Q3G decreased the gene expression of atrogin-1 and MuRF1 and phosphorylation of AMPK. This compound also increased phosphorylation levels of mTOR and its upstream enzyme AKT in DEX-treated C2C12 cells. We identified that LL improves muscle wasting through regulation of muscle protein metabolism in DEX-induced muscle atrophy mice. Q3G is predicted to be one of the major active phenolic components in LL. Therefore, we propose LL as a supplement or therapeutic agent to prevent or treat muscle wasting, such as sarcopenia. Full article
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Article
Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus LC 554891 by Moringa oleifera Seed Extract either Singly or in Combination with Antibiotics
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4583; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25194583 - 07 Oct 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1208
Abstract
Bacterial outbreaks caused by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) are interesting due to the existence of multidrug resistant (MDR) isolates. Therefore, there is a need to develop novel ways to control such MDR S. aureus. In this study, some natural agents [...] Read more.
Bacterial outbreaks caused by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) are interesting due to the existence of multidrug resistant (MDR) isolates. Therefore, there is a need to develop novel ways to control such MDR S. aureus. In this study, some natural agents such as honey bee (HB), extracts of either Moringa oleifera seeds (MSE), or leaves (MLE) and essential oils of garlic, clove, and moringa were studied for their inhibitory activity against this S. aureus pathogen. About 100 food samples including beef luncheon (n = 25), potato chips (n = 50), and corn flakes (n = 25) were investigated for possible pollution with the S. aureus bacteria. The isolated bacteria suspected to belong S. aureus that grew well onto Baird–Parker agar (Oxoid) and shiny halo zones and positive coagulase reaction were selected and identified by API-Kits; all of them that were approved belong to S. aureus (18 strains). The sensitivity of the obtained 18 S. aureus bacterial strains to 12 antibiotics were evaluated; all of them were resistant to ofloxacin; however, other antibiotics tested showed variable results. Interestingly, the S. aureus No. B3 isolated from beef luncheon was resistant to 10 antibiotics out of 12 ones tested. Multiple antibiotic resistance index (MAR) of this S. aureus strain was about 83.3%. Therefore, its identification was confirmed by sequencing of a 16S rRNA gene which approved a successful biochemical identification carried out by API Kits and such strain was designated S. aureus LC 554891. The genome of such strain appeared to contain mecA gene encoding methicillin resistance; it was found to contain hla, hlb, tsst-1, and finbA that encode α-blood hemolysis, β-blood hemolysis, toxic shock syndrome gene, and fibrinogen-binding protein gene, respectively. In addition, the virulence factors viz. sea; seb; sec encoding enterotoxins were detected in the DNA extracted from S. aureus B3 strain. Aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera seeds (MSE) showed inhibitory activity against S. aureus LC 554891 better than that obtained by tetracycline, essential oils or HB. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of MSE was 20µg/mL. Instrumental analysis of MSE showed 14 bioactive chemical compounds. Combinations of both MSE and tetracycline showed distinctive inhibitory activity against S. aureus LC 554891 than that obtained by either tetracycline or MSE singly. Full article
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Article
Phytochemical Identification, Acute, and Sub-Acute Oral Toxicity Studies of the Foliar Extract of Withania frutescens
Molecules 2020, 25(19), 4528; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25194528 - 02 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
Withania frutescens (W. frutescens) is a medicinal plant widely used to treat several diseases. This work aims to study phytochemical composition as well as acute and subacute toxicity of W. frutescens hydroethanolic extract in mice. The phytochemical composition of W. frutescens [...] Read more.
Withania frutescens (W. frutescens) is a medicinal plant widely used to treat several diseases. This work aims to study phytochemical composition as well as acute and subacute toxicity of W. frutescens hydroethanolic extract in mice. The phytochemical composition of W. frutescens extract was performed using gas chromatographic analysis. Acute toxicity was studied in vivo with oral administration of single doses 400 mg/kg, 1000 mg/kg, and 2000 mg/kg for 14 days. Subacute toxicity was studied with the administration of repeated doses of 400 mg/kg/day and 2000 mg/kg/day for 28 days. Phytochemical analysis of W. frutescens hydro-ethanolic extract confirmed the presence of interesting chemical compounds. Acute toxicity results showed no toxic symptoms in mice treated with an increasing dose up to a maximum of 2000 mg/kg. Alongside acute toxicity, subacute data showed no clinical symptoms nor biochemical or histological alteration in mice treated with an increasing dose up to a maximum of 2000 mg/kg compared to the control group (p < 0.05). This study shows no toxic effects in animals treated with W. frutescens extract, and, therefore, this plant can be considered safe in animals up to 2000 mg/kg under both acute and subacute toxicity conditions. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
The Common Cichory (Cichorium intybus L.) as a Source of Extracts with Health-Promoting Properties—A Review
Molecules 2021, 26(6), 1814; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26061814 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Natural products are gaining more interest recently, much of which focuses on those derived from medicinal plants. The common chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), of the Astraceae family, is a prime example of this trend. It has been proven to be a feasible [...] Read more.
Natural products are gaining more interest recently, much of which focuses on those derived from medicinal plants. The common chicory (Cichorium intybus L.), of the Astraceae family, is a prime example of this trend. It has been proven to be a feasible source of biologically relevant elements (K, Fe, Ca), vitamins (A, B1, B2, C) as well as bioactive compounds (inulin, sesquiterpene lactones, coumarin derivatives, cichoric acid, phenolic acids), which exert potent pro-health effects on the human organism. It displays choleretic and digestion-promoting, as well as appetite-increasing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action, all owing to its varied phytochemical composition. Hence, chicory is used most often to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Chicory was among the plants with potential against SARS-CoV-2, too. To this and other ends, roots, herb, flowers and leaves are used. Apart from its phytochemical applications, chicory is also used in gastronomy as a coffee substitute, food or drink additive. The aim of this paper is to present, in the light of the recent literature, the chemical composition and properties of chicory. Full article
Review
Bee Venom in Wound Healing
Molecules 2021, 26(1), 148; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26010148 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1273
Abstract
Bee venom (BV), also known as api-toxin, is widely used in the treatment of different inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. It is also known that BV can improve the wound healing process. BV plays a crucial role in the [...] Read more.
Bee venom (BV), also known as api-toxin, is widely used in the treatment of different inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. It is also known that BV can improve the wound healing process. BV plays a crucial role in the modulation of the different phases of wound repair. It possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial and analgesic properties, all of which have a positive impact on the wound healing process. The mentioned process consists of four phases, i.e., hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation and remodeling. The impaired wound healing process constitutes a significant problem especially in diabetic patients, due to hypoxia state. It had been found that BV accelerated the wound healing in diabetic patients as well as in laboratory animals by impairing the caspase-3, caspase-8 and caspase-9 activity. Moreover, the activity of BV in wound healing is associated with regulating the expression of transforming growth factor (TGF-β1), vascular endothelial growth factor and increased collagen type I. BV stimulates the proliferation and migration of human epidermal keratinocytes and fibroblasts. In combination with polyvinyl alcohol and chitosan, BV significantly accelerates the wound healing process, increasing the hydroxyproline and glutathione and lowering the IL-6 level in wound tissues. The effect of BV on the wounds has been proved by numerous studies, which revealed that BV in the wound healing process brings about a curative effect and could be applied as a new potential treatment for wound repair. However, therapy with bee venom may induce allergic reactions, so it is necessary to assess the existence of the patient’s hypersensitivity to apitoxin before treatment. Full article
Review
Caesalpinia ferrea C. Mart. (Fabaceae) Phytochemistry, Ethnobotany, and Bioactivities: A Review
Molecules 2020, 25(17), 3831; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25173831 - 23 Aug 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1347
Abstract
Caesalpinia ferrea C. Mart., popularly known as “Jucá” or “Pau-ferro”, belongs to the Fabaceae family, and is classified as a native and endemic species in Brazil. Numerous studies that portray its ethnobotany, chemical composition, and biological activities exist in the literature. The [...] Read more.
Caesalpinia ferrea C. Mart., popularly known as “Jucá” or “Pau-ferro”, belongs to the Fabaceae family, and is classified as a native and endemic species in Brazil. Numerous studies that portray its ethnobotany, chemical composition, and biological activities exist in the literature. The present study aimed to systematically review publications addressing the botanical aspects, uses in popular medicine, phytochemical composition, and bioactivities of C. ferrea. The searches focused on publications from 2015 to March 2020 using the Scopus, Periódicos Capes, PubMed, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect databases. The leaves, fruits, seeds, and bark from C. ferrea are used in popular medicine to treat disorders affecting several systems, including the circulatory, immune, cardiovascular, digestive, respiratory, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, and conjunctive systems. The most commonly found chemical classes in phytochemical studies are flavonoids, polyphenols, terpenoids, tannins, saponins, steroids, and other phenolic compounds. The biological properties of the extracts and isolated compounds of C. ferrea most cited in the literature were antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and healing potential. However, further studies are still needed to clarify a link between its traditional uses, the active compounds, and the reported pharmacological activities, as well as detailed research to determine the toxicological profile of C. ferrea. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Phenolic profiles and enzyme inhibitory activities of four originated Adenia viridiflora Craib
Authors: Werawat Wannasaksri; Nattira On-Nom; Chaowanee Chupeerach; Piya Temviriyanukul; Uthaiwan Suttisansanee
Affiliation: Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Salaya, Phuttamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand
Abstract: Adenia viridiflora Craib. is indigenous edible plant growing naturally in Northeastern Thailand, and its consumption is limited to the locals. This plant is used as traditional herb to treat urinary tract infection, fever, giddy, fainting, and diarrhea; however, its health applications are lacking scientific-based evidence. Besides, its reproduction and growth conditions are also unknown, causing it to become endangered species. This research, therefore, aimed to investigate the effects of plant parts (old leaves and young shoots) from four originates (Kamphaeng Phet (KP), Muang and Pakchong in Nakhon Ratchasima (MN and PN, respectively) and Uthai Thani (UT)) of Adenia viridiflora Craib. on phenolic profiles and in vitro health properties through the inhibition of key enzymes relevant to obesity (lipase), diabetes (α-glucosidase and dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV)), hypertension (angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)), and Alzheimer’s disease (acetylcholinesterase (AChE), butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), and β-secreatse (BACE-1)). As results, phenolic acids including caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, and sinapic acid, and flavonoids including naringenin and apigenin were detected in both young shoots and old leaves in all orginates in exception of caffeic acid, which only found in young shoots of UT and old leaves of KP and UT. High lipase, α-glucosidase, DPP-IV, and ACE inhibitory activities were found in MN and PN. KP exhibited the highest AChE inhibitory activities, while BChE inhibitory activities were found to be the highest in MN. All samples were found to possess high BACE-1 inhibitory activities (>70% inhibition). Furthermore, old leaves tended to exhibit higher phenolics and enzyme inhibitory activities than young shoots. These results will be useful to promote this plant as healthy vegetable with valuably medicinal capacities to support its consumption and agricultural stimulation, leading to sustainable conservation of this endangered species.

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