Skip to main content

01.12.2012 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

Malaria Journal 1/2012

Anti-plasmodial activity of Dicoma tomentosa (Asteraceae) and identification of urospermal A-15-O-acetate as the main active compound

Malaria Journal > Ausgabe 1/2012
Olivia Jansen, Monique Tits, Luc Angenot, Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Patrick De Mol, Jean-Baptiste Nikiema, Michel Frédérich
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1475-2875-11-289) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

OJ carried out the in vitro and in vivo anti-plasmodial activity assays and the bioguided fractionation as well as the in vitro cytotoxic and haemolytic assays. She also analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. MT and LA contributed to data analysis and critically revised the manuscript. JPN participated in plant selection and collection, analysed botanical/ethnomedicinal data and contributed to the revision of the manuscript. PDM and JBN assisted with data analysis and the revision of the manuscript. MF contributed to the design of experiments, helped in in vivo anti-plasmodial assay and data analysis and assisted in the correction of the draft manuscript. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Natural products could play an important role in the challenge to discover new anti-malarial drugs. In a previous study, Dicoma tomentosa (Asteraceae) was selected for its promising anti-plasmodial activity after a preliminary screening of several plants traditionally used in Burkina Faso to treat malaria. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the anti-plasmodial properties of this plant and to isolate the active anti-plasmodial compounds.


Eight crude extracts obtained from D. tomentosa whole plant were tested in vitro against two Plasmodium falciparum strains (3D7 and W2) using the p-LDH assay (colorimetric method). The Peters’ four-days suppressive test model (Plasmodium berghei- infected mice) was used to evaluate the in vivo anti-plasmodial activity. An in vitro bioguided fractionation was undertaken on a dichloromethane extract, using preparative HPLC and TLC techniques. The identity of the pure compound was assessed using UV, MS and NMR spectroscopic analysis. In vitro cytotoxicity against WI38 human fibroblasts (WST-1 assay) and haemolytic activity were also evaluated for extracts and pure compounds in order to check selectivity.


The best in vitro anti-plasmodial results were obtained with the dichloromethane, diethylether, ethylacetate and methanol extracts, which exhibited a high activity (IC50 ≤ 5 μg/ml). Hot water and hydroethanolic extracts also showed a good activity (IC50 ≤ 15 μg/ml), which confirmed the traditional use and the promising anti-malarial potential of the plant. The activity was also confirmed in vivo for all tested extracts. However, most of the active extracts also exhibited cytotoxic activity, but no extract was found to display any haemolytic activity. The bioguided fractionation process allowed to isolate and identify a sesquiterpene lactone (urospermal A-15-O-acetate) as the major anti-plasmodial compound of the plant (IC50 < 1 μg/ml against both 3D7 and W2 strains). This was also found to be the main cytotoxic compound (SI = 3.3). While this melampolide has already been described in the plant, this paper is the first report on the biological properties of this compound.


The present study highlighted the very promising anti-plasmodial activity of D. tomentosa and enabled to identify its main active compound, urospermal A-15-O-acetate. The high anti-plasmodial activity of this compound merits further study about its anti-plasmodial mechanism of action. The active extracts of D. tomentosa, as well as urospermal A 15-O-acetate, displayed only a moderate selectivity, and further studies are needed to assess the safety of the use of the plant by the local population.
Additional file 1: Spectroscopic data of compound 1.(DOCX 60 KB)
Additional file 2: TLC analysis of D. tomentosa extracts tested in vitro for antiplasmodial activity. (PDF 280 KB)
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2012

Malaria Journal 1/2012 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet Innere Medizin

Meistgelesene Bücher aus der Inneren Medizin

2017 | Buch

Rheumatologie aus der Praxis

Entzündliche Gelenkerkrankungen – mit Fallbeispielen

Dieses Fachbuch macht mit den wichtigsten chronisch entzündlichen Gelenk- und Wirbelsäulenerkrankungen vertraut. Anhand von über 40 instruktiven Fallbeispielen werden anschaulich diagnostisches Vorgehen, therapeutisches Ansprechen und der Verlauf …

Rudolf Puchner

2016 | Buch

Ambulant erworbene Pneumonie

Was, wann, warum – Dieses Buch bietet differenzierte Diagnostik und Therapie der ambulant erworbenen Pneumonie zur sofortigen sicheren Anwendung. Entsprechend der neuesten Studien und Leitlinien aller wichtigen Fachgesellschaften.

Santiago Ewig

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Innere Medizin und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.

© Springer Medizin