In vitro Assessments of Cytotoxic and Cytostatic Effects of Asparagus aphyllus, Crataegus aronia, and Ephedra alata in Monocultures and Co-Cultures of Hepg2 and THP-1-Derived Macrophages


Pharmacognosy Communications,2015,5,3,165-172.
Published:16th June 2015
Type:Original Article

In vitro Assessments of Cytotoxic and Cytostatic Effects of Asparagus aphyllus, Crataegus aronia, and Ephedra alata in Monocultures and Co-Cultures of Hepg2 and THP-1-Derived Macrophages

Abdalsalam Kmail1,2, Badiaa Lyoussi 1,*, Hilal Zaid2 and Bashar Saad2,*

1Physiology-Pharmacology, University of Fez, P.O. Box 1796 Fez Atlas, Fez, MOROCCO

2Qasemi Research Center- Al-Qasemi Academic College, Baga Algharbiya and Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Arab American University Jenin, P.O. Box 240, Jenin, PALESTINE


Introduction: Herbal-based medicines are widely used for the prevention and treatments of diverse diseases especially in growing countries as well as many developed countries. Although some of herbal-based medicines have promising therapeutic properties, many of them remain untested and their safety and effi¬cacy were not scientifically assessed. Based on knowledge from traditional Greco-Arab herbal medicine, this in vitro study aims to evaluate cytotoxic and cytostatic effects of three traditionally used anti-diabetic and anti-cancer medicinal plants. Out of the traditional medicinal plants, Asparagus Aphyllus, Crataegus Aronia, and Ephedra Alata are widely used in many Mediterranean countries as natural remedies. Methods: Human THP-1- derived macrophages, HepG2 cells and their co-cultures were used in this in vitro study. Cells were treated for 24h (cytotoxic effects) and 72h (cytostatic effects) with increasing concentrations (0-1000 μg/ml) of water/ethanol extracts from Asparagus aphyllous (AA-extract), Crataegus aronia (CA-extract) and Ephedra alata (EA-extract). Cytotoxic and cytostatic effects were assessed using MTT assay and LDH assay. Results: No significant cytotoxic effects were seen with the three extracts up to concentration of 500 μg/ml. A slight cytotoxic effect was observed with CA-extractin HepG2 monocultures at concentrations higher than 500 μg/ml. Significant cytostatic effects were measured with CA-extract and EA-extract in monocultures and cocultures. The cytostatic activity of the extracts was more potent in co-cultures reaching IC50 of 178 μg/mL and 380 μg/mL for CA-extract and EA-extract, respectively. Conclusion: These results indicate that the traditionally known anti-cancer effects of CA-extract and EA-extract might be mediated in part through cytostatic effects.

Founded:  In 2004, as the PHCOG.NET – a non-profit private organization dedicated to Natural Products Research leading to develop promising drugs. Our main mission is to make information on herbal drug research readily available in different formats to suit the individual needs.

Pharmacognosy Communications [Phcog Commn.] is a new quarterly journal published by Phcog.Net. It is a peer reviewed journal aiming to publish high quality original research articles, methods, techniques and evaluation reports, critical reviews, short communications, commentaries and editorials of all aspects of medicinal plant research. The journal is aimed at a broad readership, publishing articles on all aspects of pharmacognosy, and related fields. The journal aims to increase understanding of pharmacognosy as well as to direct and foster further research through the dissemination of scientific information by the  publication of manuscripts. The submission of original contributions in all areas of pharmacognosy are welcome.

The journal aims to cater the latest outstanding developments in the field of pharmacognosy and natural products and drug design covering but not limited to the following topics:

  • Pharmacognosy and pharmacognistic investigations
  • Research based ethnopharmacological evaluations
  • Biological evaluation of crude extracts, essential oils and pure isolates
  • Natural product discovery and evaluation
  • Mechanistic studies
  • Method and technique development and evaluation
  • Isolation, identification and structural elucidation of natural products
  • Synthesis and transformation studies

Distinctions:  The most widely read, cited, and known Pharmacognosy Communications and website is well browsed with all the articles published. More than 20,000 readers in nearly every country in the world each month

Aim and Scope | Editorial Board | Indexed & Abstracted | Instruction to Authors | Manuscript Submission & Charges

Subjects Covered : Natural Products, Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Marine Pharmacognosy and Zoo Pharmacognosy
ISSN :2249-0159 (Print) ; 2249-0167 (Online) Frequency : Quarterly Rapid at a time publication (4 issues/year)

Indexed and Abstracted in : Chemical Abstracts, Excerpta Medica / EMBASE, Google Scholar, CABI Full Text, Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory, ProQuest, Journalseek & Genamics, PhcogBase, EBSCOHost, Academic Search Complete, Open J-Gate, SciACCESS.
Rapid publication: Average time from submission to first decision is 30 days and from acceptance to In Press online  publication is 45 days.
Open Access Journal: Phcog Commn. is an open access journal, which allows authors to fund their article to be open access from publication.