Antifungal activity of extracts of some plants used in Brazilian traditional medicine against the pathogenic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Pharm Biol
Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic granulomatous disease caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis Almeida (Onygenales) that requires 1-2 years of treatment. In the absence of drug therapy, the disease is usually fatal, highlighting the need for the identification of safer, novel, and more effective antifungal compounds. With this need in mind, several plants employed in Brazilian traditional medicine were assayed on P. brasiliensis and murine macrophages. Extracts were prepared from 10 plant species: Inga spp. Mill. (Leguminosae), Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Anacardiaceae), Punica granatum L. (Punicaceae), Alternanthera brasiliana Kuntze (Amaranthaceae), Piper regnellii CDC. (Piperaceae), P. abutiloides Kunth (Piperaceae), Herissantia crispa L. Briz. (Malvaceae), Rubus urticaefolius Poir (Rosaceae), Rumex acetosa L. (Polygonaceae), and Baccharis dracunculifolia DC. (Asteraceae). Hexane fractions from hydroalcoholic extracts of Piper regnellii and Baccharis dracunculifolia were the most active against the fungus, displaying minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 7.8 microg/mL and 7.8-30 mug/mL, respectively. Additionally, neither of the extracts exhibited any apparent cytotoxic effects on murine macrophages at 20 microg/mL. Analyses of these fractions using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) showed that the major components of B. dracunculifolia were ethyl hydrocinnamate (14.35%) and spathulenol (16.02%), while the major components of the hexane fraction of Piper regnellii were 1-methoxy-4-(1-propenyl) benzene (21.94%) and apiol (21.29%). The activities of these fractions against P. brasiliensis without evidence of cytotoxicity to macrophages justify their investigation as a potential source of new chemical agents for the treatment of PCM.
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