The aims of the present study were to identify the compounds responsible for the anti-malarial activity of Dacryoedes edulis (Burseraceae) and to investigate their suitability as leads for the treatment of drug resistant malaria. Five compounds were isolated from ethyl acetate and hexane extracts of D. edulis stem bark and tested against 3D7 (chloroquine-susceptible) and Dd2 (multidrug-resistant) strains of Plasmodium falciparum, using the parasite lactate dehydrogenase method. Cytotoxicity studies were carried out on LLC-MK2 monkey kidney epithelial cell-line. In silico analysis was conducted by calculating molecular descriptors using the MOE software running on a Linux workstation. The "drug-likeness" of the isolated compounds was assessed using Lipinski criteria, from computed molecular properties of the geometry optimized structures. Computed descriptors often used to predict absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination and toxicity (ADMET) were used to assess the pharmacokinetic profiles of the isolated compounds. Antiplasmodial activity was demonstrated for the first time in five major natural products previously identified in D. edulis, but not tested against malaria parasites. The most active compound identified was termed DES4. It had IC50 values of 0.37 and 0.55 μg/mL, against 3D7 and Dd2 respectively. In addition, this compound was shown to act in synergy with quinine, satisfied all criteria of "Drug-likeness" and showed considerable probability of providing an antimalarial lead. The remaining four compounds also showed antiplasmodial activity, but were less effective than DES4. None of the tested compounds was cytotoxicity against LLC-MK2 cells, suggesting their selective activities on malaria parasites. Based on the high in vitro activity, low toxicity and predicted "Drug-likeness" DES4 merits further investigation as a possible drug lead for the treatment of malaria. © 2013 Zofou et al.
Zofou, D., Tematio, E. L., Ntie-Kang, F., Tene, M., Ngemenya, M. N., Tane, P., & Titanji, V. P. K. (2013). New antimalarial hits from Dacryodes edulis (Burseraceae) - Part I: Isolation, in vitro activity, in silico “drug-likeness” and pharmacokinetic profiles. PLoS ONE, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0079544