1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
2Department of Chemistry, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
3Department of Zoology, University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria
4Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
Objective:Zea mays root decoction that has been traditionally used for the treatment of malaria by various tribes in Nigeria, was evaluated for antimalarial potential against malaria parasites using in vivo and in vitro models. Materials and Methods: The root extract of Zea mays was investigated for antimalarial activity against Plasmodium berghei in mice using rodent malaria models; suppressive, prophylactic and curative tests and in vitro antiplasmodial activity against chloroquine-sensitive (Pf 3D7) and resistant (Pf INDO) strains of Plasmodium falciparum using SYBR green assay method. Median lethal dose and cytotoxic activity against HeLa and HEKS cells were assessed and phytochemical screening was also carried out using standard procedures. Results: The LD50 value of root extract was found to be 474.34 mg/kg. The crude extract (45-135 mg/kg, p.o) showed significant (p<0.05-0.001) antimalarial activity against P. berghei infection in suppressive, prophylactic and curative tests with a prolonged survival time. The crude extract also showed moderate activity against both chloroquine-sensitive (Pf 3D7) and resistant (Pf INDO) strains of P. falciparum with an IC50 value of 71.62±3.38 μg/ml (for Pf 3D7) and 63.76±4.12 μg/ml (for Pf INDO). The crude extract was not cytotoxic to the two cell lines tested with TC50 of >100 μg/ml against both HeLa and HEKS cell lines. Conclusion: These results suggest that the root extract of Zea mays possesses antimalarial activity against both chloroquine-sensitive and resistant malaria and these data justify its use in ethnomedicine to treat malaria infections.
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