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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Phenolic content, antioxidant effect and cytotoxic activity of Leea indica leaves

Nidyaletchmy Subba Reddy1, Suerialoasan Navanesan1, Saravana Kumar Sinniah1, Norhanom Abdul Wahab2 and Kae Shin Sim1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institutional address: Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 Institutional address: Biology Division, Centre for Foundation Studies In Science, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:128  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-128

Published: 17 August 2012

Abstract

Background

The leaves of Leea indica (Vitaceae), commonly known as ‘Huo Tong Shu’ in Malaysia, have been traditionally used as natural remedy in folk medicine by the locals. The current study reports the outcome of antioxidant and cytotoxic investigation of L. indica leaves. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of L. indica leaf crude ethanol and its fractionated extracts (hexane, ethyl acetate and water) for evaluation of total phenolic content, antioxidant effect and cytotoxic activity against colon cancer cell lines.

Methods

In the present study, L. indica leaf crude ethanol and its fractionated extracts (hexane, ethyl acetate and water) were firstly prepared prior to phenolic content, antioxidant effect and cytotoxic activity assessment. Folin-Ciocalteau’s method was used for the measurement of total phenolic content of the extracts. The antioxidant activity was measured by employing three different established testing systems, such as scavenging activity on DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) radicals, reducing power assay and SOD (superoxide dismutase) activity assay. The cytotoxic activity of the extracts were evaluated against three colon cancer cell lines with varying molecular characteristics (HT-29, HCT-15 and HCT-116) by MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay.

Results

The total phenolic content and antioxidant capabilities differed significantly among the L. indica leaf extracts. A strong correlation between total phenolic content and antioxidant properties was found, indicating that phenolic compounds are the major contributor to the antioxidant properties of these extracts. Among the crude ethanol and its fractionated extracts, fractionated water extract showed significantly the highest total phenolic content and strongest antioxidant effect in all the antioxidant testing systems employed in this study. All the four extracts exert no damage to the selected colon cancer cells.

Conclusions

The data obtained in these testing systems clearly establish the antioxidant potency of the fractionated water extract of L. indica leaves. Additional studies should be carried out to isolate and identify the bioactive compounds in the fractionated water extract, in order to provide more convincing evidence.

Keywords:
Leea indica; Vitaceae; Antioxidant; Colon cancer cells; Phenolic content