The malaria co-infection challenge : an investigation into the antimicrobial activity of selected Guinean medicinal plants
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Journal of ethnopharmacology. - Lausanne
, p. 576-581
University of Antwerp
Ethnopharmacological relevance In sub-Saharan Africa, concomitant occurrence of malaria and invasive infections with micro-organisms such as Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, Gram-negative Escherichia coli and yeasts or fungi such as Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus is common. Non-tuberculous mycobacteriosis caused by Mycobacterium chelonae has been recognized as a pulmonary pathogen with increasing frequency without effective therapy. Although less important, the high incidence of Trichophyton rubrum infections along with its ability to evade host defense mechanisms, accounts for the high prevalence of infections with this dermatophyte. Considering the treatment cost of both malaria and microbial infections, along with the level of poverty, most affected African countries are unable to cope with the burden of these diseases. In sub-Saharan Africa, many plant species are widely used in the treatment of these diseases which are traditionally diagnosed through the common symptom of fever. Therefore it is of interest to evaluate the antimicrobial activities of medicinal plants reported for their use against malaria/fever. Materials and methods Based on an ethnobotanical survey, 34 Guinean plant species widely used in the traditional treatment of fever and/or malaria have been collected and evaluated for their antimicrobial activities. Plants extracts were tested against Candida albicans, Trichophyton rubrum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Mycobacterium chelonae, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Results The most interesting activities against Candida albicans were obtained for the polar extracts of Pseudospondias microcarpa and Ximenia americana with IC50 values of 6.99 and 8.12 µg/ml, respectively. The most pronounced activity against Trichophyton rubrum was obtained for the ethanol extract of Terminalia macroptera (IC50 5.59 µg/ml). Only 7 of the 51 tested extracts were active against Staphylococcus aureus. From these, the methanolic extracts of the leaves and stem bark of Alchornea cordifolia were the most active with IC50 values of 2.81 and 7.47 µg/ml, respectively. Only Terminalia albida and Lawsonia inermis showed activity against Mycobacterium chelonae. None of the tested extracts was active against Escherichia coli. Conclusion A number of traditional Guinean plant species used against malaria/fever showed, in addition to their antiplasmodial properties and antimicrobial activity. The fact that some plant species are involved in the traditional treatment of malaria/fever without any antiplasmodial evidence may be justified by their antimicrobial activities.