Gynura segetum is used traditionally to treat various ailments related to the immune system, which include cancer, inflammation, rheumatism, diabetes, hypertension, and viral infections but little studies have been carried out to validate their ethnopharmacological aspects. In this study the immunosuppressive effects of G. segetum and its constituents were investigated.
Isolation of compounds from G. segetum leaves was conducted using vacuum liquid chromatography (VLC) and column chromatography (CC). Two new compounds, namely 4,5,4'-trihydroxychalcone and 8,8'-(ethene-1,2-diyl)-dinaphtalene-1,4,5-triol, together with stigmasterol and β-sitosterol were isolated from G. segetum methanol extract and their structures were determined spectroscopically. The presence of gallic acid and rutin in the extract was determined quantitatively by a validated HPLC method. G. segetum methanol extract and its constituents were investigated for their effects on chemotaxis, phagocytosis, β2 integrin (CD18) expression, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), lymphocytes proliferation, cytokine release and nitric oxide (NO) production of phagocytes.
All the samples significantly inhibited all the innate immune responses tested except CD 18 expression on surface of leukocytes. Among the samples, 8,8'-(ethene-1,2-diyl)-dinaphtalene-1,4,5-triol exhibited the strongest inhibitory on chemotaxis, phagocytosis, ROS and NO production. The compound exhibited exceptionally strong inhibitions on ROS and chemotaxis activities with IC50 values lower than the positive controls, aspirin and ibuprofen, respectively. 4,5,4'-Trihydroxychalcone revealed the strongest immunosuppressive activity on proliferation of lymphocytes (IC50 value of 1.52 μM) and on release of IL-1β (IC50 value of 6.69 μM). Meanwhile rutin was the most potent sample against release of TNF-α from monocytes (IC50, 16.96 μM).
The extract showed strong immunosuppressive effects on various components of the immune system and these activities were possibly contributed mainly by 4,5,4'-trihydroxychalcone, 8,8'-(ethene-1,2-diyl)-dinaphtalene-1,4,5-triol and rutin.