Aqueous and organic extracts of twenty-seven species of marine algae (14 species of Rhodophyta, 5 species of Phaeophyta and 8 species of Chlorophyta) collected from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) were evaluated for their antileishmanial in vitro activity against Leishmania mexicana promastigote forms. The cytotoxicity of these extracts was also assessed using brine shrimp. Organic extracts from Laurencia microcladia (Rhodophyta), Dictyota caribaea, Turbinaria turbinata and Lobophora variegata (Phaeophyta) possessed promising in vitro activity against L. mexicana promastigotes (LC50 values ranging from 10.9 to 49.9 mug/ml). No toxicity of algal extracts against Artemia salina was observed with LC50 ranging from 119 to >= 1000 mug/ml. Further studies on bio-guided fractionation, isolation and characterization of pure compounds from these species as well as in vivo experiments are needed and are already in progress. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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