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Antileishmanial and immunomodulatory activities of lupeol, a triterpene compound isolated from Sterculia villosa

Das, Antu, Jawed, Junaid Jibran, Das, Manash C., Sandhu, Padmani, De, Utpal C., Dinda, Biswanath, Akhter, Yusuf, Bhattacharjee, Surajit
International journal of antimicrobial agents 2017 v.50 no.4 pp. 512-522
Leishmania donovani, Sterculia villosa, adenine, anti-infective agents, antiparasitic properties, binding capacity, cell membranes, color, cytokines, glycoproteins, immunomodulators, inflammation, inhibitory concentration 50, lupeol, macrophages, mice, models, nitric oxide, parasite load, parasites, pathogenicity, spectral analysis, visceral leishmaniasis
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is one of the most severe forms of leishmaniasis, caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani. Nowadays there is a growing interest in the therapeutic use of natural products to treat parasitic diseases. Sterculia villosa is an ethnomedicinally important plant. A triterpenoid was isolated from this plant and was screened for its antileishmanial and immunomodulatory activities in vitro and in vivo. Biochemical colour test and spectroscopic data confirmed that the isolated pure compound was lupeol. Lupeol exhibited significant antileishmanial activity, with IC50 values of 65 ± 0.41 µg/mL and 15 ± 0.45 µg/mL against promastigote and amastigote forms, respectively. Lupeol caused maximum cytoplasmic membrane damage of L. donovani promastigote at its IC50 dose. It is well known that during infection the Leishmania parasite exerts its pathogenicity in the host by suppressing nitric oxide (NO) production and inhibiting pro-inflammatory responses. It was observed that lupeol induces NO generation in L. donovani-infected macrophages, followed by upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and downregulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Lupeol was also found to reduce the hepatic and splenic parasite burden through upregulation of the pro-inflammatory response in L. donovani-infected BALB/c mice. Strong binding affinity of lupeol was observed for four major potential drug targets, namely pteridine reductase 1, adenine phosphoribosyltransferase, lipophosphoglycan biosynthetic protein and glycoprotein 63 of L. donovani, which also supported its antileishmanial and immunomodulatory activities. Therefore, the present study highlights the antileishmanial and immunomodulatory activities of lupeol in an in vitro and in vivo model of VL.