Biological activity of plant extracts and isolated compounds from Alchornea laxiflora: Anti-HIV, antibacterial and cytotoxicity evaluation

X. Siwe-Noundou*, D. T. Ndinteh, D. K. Olivier, D. Mnkandhla, M. Isaacs, F. M. Muganza, J. T. Mbafor, S. F. Van Vuuren, S. Patnala, H. Hoppe, R. W.M. Krause

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to assess the cytotoxicity, anti-HIV and antibacterial efficacy of various solvent extracts of roots, stem and leaves of Alchornea laxiflora, as well as five compounds isolated from its methanolic stem extract viz.; ellagic acid (1); 3-O-methyl-ellagic acid (2), 3-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-β-sitosterol (3), 3-O-acetyl-oleanolic acid (4)and 3-O-acetyl-ursolic acid (5). The tested crude extracts were prepared from several solvent polarities including: hexane (Hex), chloroform (CHCl3), ethyl acetate (EtOAc), ethanol (EtOH), methanol (MeOH)and water (H2O). The anti-HIV properties were assessed on HIV-1 subtype C integrase while the cytotoxicity was tested against Hela cells. The antibacterial activity was studied on a panel of pathogens including gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory and urinary-tract infection causing Gram positive bacteria viz.; Bacillus cereus (ATCC 11778), Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC 29212), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923)and Staphylococcus saprophyticus (ATCC 15305)]and Gram-negative bacteria, i.e., Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922), Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 13883), Moraxella catarrhalis (ATCC 23246). All the tested samples were determined to be non-toxic due to the low inhibitions observed. The most potent anti-HIV activity was observed for the methanolic extract of A. laxiflora root (ALR4)with an IC50 value of 0.21 ng/ml, which was more active than chicoric acid used as reference drug (6.82 nM). Roots, stem and leaves of A. laxiflora extracts exhibited antibacterial activities against most of the Gram-positive bacteria with the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC)ranging between 50 and 63 μg/ml. Compounds 1–5 displayed antibacterial activities against S. saprophyticus with MIC values as low as 4 μg/ml. The results inferred from this study demonstrate the potential of A. laxiflora root as a source for new anti-HIV drugs and scientifically validate the traditional use of A. laxiflora in the treatment of gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory and urinary tract related infections. These results reaffirm the ethnopharmacological significance of African traditional medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-503
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Journal of Botany
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alchornea laxiflora
  • Anti-HIV activity
  • Antibacterial activity
  • Extracts
  • Pure compounds


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