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In vitro antifilarial activity of extracts of the medicinal plant Cardiospermum halicacabum against Brugia pahangi

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 February 2007

W. Khunkitti*
Department of Industrial Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand
Y. Fujimaki
Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852–8523, Japan
Y. Aoki
Department of Parasitology, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852–8523, Japan
*Fax: 6643 241 243 E-mail:


The in vitro effects of ethanol and aqueous extracts of the medicinal plant Cardiospermum halicacabum on adult worms and microfilariae of Brugia pahangi were investigated. With or without the plant extracts in culture medium, the motility of adult worms, microfilariae and microfilarial release from female worms were monitored daily. After 7 days of culture, viability or tissue damage of adult worms was assessed using the MTT assay. At > 500 μg ml-1, the aqueous extract significantly reduced motility of adult females after 24 h of exposure and adult males after 3 days. The aqueous extract, at > 500 μg ml-1, also significantly reduced microfilarial release from female worms, starting on day 2. The reduction in the motility of adult worms and the pattern of microfilarial release from female worms were concentration and time dependent. The MTT assay results revealed that adult worms cultured in the presence of aqueous extracts at > 500 μg ml-1 were damaged. However, the aqueous extract did not affect the motility of microfilariae with the exception of those in higher concentration extracts. Higher concentrations of ethanol extracts (2 mg ml-1) inhibited both the motility of adult worms and the release of microfilariae from females. Little effect of ethanol extracts was detected by the MTT assay, as only slight damage was caused to worms exposed only to the highest concentration (2 mg ml-1). However, ethanol extract at 500 μg ml-1 rapidly reduced the motility of microfilariae on day 2. The present study revealed that an aqueous extract of C. halicacabum has mild but definite direct macrofilaricidal action on B. pahangi.

Research Article
Cambridge University Press 2000

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