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Phytochemical and antitrypanosomal study of a Libyan medicinal plant
Objectives: Phytochemical investigation of a Libyan Medicinal Plant and study the antiprotozoal activity of isolated compounds against Tyrypanosoma brucei brucei protozoa responsible for African sleeping sickness.
Methods:The dried aerial part of Sarcopoterium spinosum (Rosaceae), was extracted using Sohxlet with different polarity of solvents, then subjected to a range of chromatographic techniques. The pure compounds were screened in a bioassay system  to determine whether they demonstrated activity against Tyrypanosoma brucei brucei. A serial dilution method was used to measure the MIC of compounds which showed activity.
Results: Among 9 pure compounds isolated and tested in vitro for their activity against Tyrypanosoma brucei brucei, ursolic acid and 2α, 3α, 19α -trihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid showed a high activity. The other compounds, which included some related triterpenes, showed no activity in this test.
Conclusion: Some triterpenes have previously been shown to have activity against African trypanomiasis . Ursolic acid and 2α, 3α, 19α-trihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid had potent in vitro activity against T. brucei brucei compared with suramin, while some other triterpene derivatives had no activity.
Acknowledgements: Strathclyde University and Al-Fateh University for funding N.B.E.
References: 1. Raz, B., et al. (1997) Acta Tropica 68:139–147. 2. Hoet, S. et al. (2004)J. Nat.Prod.Rep. 353–364.