Antiplasmodial and Antileishmanial Activities of a New Limonoid and Other Constituents from the Stem Bark of Khaya senegalensis

Gabrielle Ange Amang à Ngnoung, Yves Oscar Nganso Ditchou*, Peron Bosco Leutcha, Darline Dize, Simplice Joël Ndendoung Tatsimo, Lauve Rachel Yamthe Tchokouaha, Theodora Kopa Kowa, Babalwa Tembeni, Hamadou Mamoudou, Madan Poka, Patrick Hulisani Demana, Xavier Siwe Noundou*, Fabrice Fekam Boyom, Alain Meli Lannang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Plasmodium falciparum and Leishmania sp. resistance to antiparasitic drugs has become a major concern in malaria and leishmaniasis control. These diseases are public health problems with significant socioeconomic impacts, and mostly affect disadvantaged populations living in remote tropical areas. This challenge emphasizes the need to search for new chemical scaffolds that preferably possess novel modes of action to contribute to antimalarial and antileishmanial research programs. This study aimed to investigate the antimalarial and antileishmanial properties of a methanol extract (KS-MeOH) of the stem bark of the Cameroonian medicinal plant Khaya senegalensis and its isolated compounds. The purification of KS-MeOH led to the isolation of a new ordered limonoid derivative, 21β-hydroxybourjotinolone A (1a), together with 15 known compounds (1bc–14) using a repeated column chromatography. Compound 1a was obtained in an epimeric mixture of 21α-melianodiol (1b) and 21β-melianodiol (1c). Structural characterization of the isolated compounds was achieved with HRMS, and 1D- and 2D-NMR analyses. The extracts and compounds were screened using pre-established in vitro methods against synchronized ring stage cultures of the multidrug-resistant Dd2 and chloroquine-sensitive/sulfadoxine-resistant 3D7 strains of Plasmodium falciparum and the promastigote form of Leishmania donovani (1S(MHOM/SD/62/1S). In addition, the samples were tested for cytotoxicity against RAW 264.7 macrophages. Positive controls consisted of artemisinin and chloroquine for P. falciparum, amphotericin B for L. donovani, and podophyllotoxin for cytotoxicity against RAW 264.7 cells. The extract and fractions exhibited moderate to potent antileishmanial activity with 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) ranging from 5.99 ± 0.77 to 2.68 ± 0.42 μg/mL, while compounds displayed IC50 values ranging from 81.73 ± 0.12 to 6.43 ± 0.06 μg/mL. They were weakly active against the chloroquine-sensitive/sulfadoxine-resistant Pf3D7 strain but highly potent toward the multidrug-resistant PfDd2 (extracts, IC50 2.50 ± 0.12 to 4.78 ± 0.36 μg/mL; compounds IC50 2.93 ± 0.02 to 50.97 ± 0.37 μg/mL) with selectivity indices greater than 10 (SIDd2 > 10) for the extract and fractions and most of the derived compounds. Of note, the limonoid mixture [21β-hydroxylbourjotinolone A (1a) + 21α-melianodiol (1b) + 21β-melianodiol (1c)] exhibited moderate activity against P. falciparum and L. donovani. This novel antiplasmodial and antileishmanial chemical scaffold qualifies as a promising starting point for further medicinal chemistry-driven development of a dually active agent against two major infectious diseases affecting humans in Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7227
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Khaya senegalensis
  • Meliaceae
  • antileishmanial activity
  • antiplasmodial activity
  • limonoids


Dive into the research topics of 'Antiplasmodial and Antileishmanial Activities of a New Limonoid and Other Constituents from the Stem Bark of Khaya senegalensis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this