Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2024 | Viewed by 6945

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Health Platform Diagnostic Unit, Advanced Materials Division, Mintek, Randburg 2194, South Africa
2. Biolabels Research Node, DSI/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, Department of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, Bellville 7535, South Africa
Interests: phytotherapy; green nanotechnology; drug delivery; metal nanoparticles; rapid diagnostic tests

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Guest Editor
Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town 7501, South Africa
Interests: green nanotechnology; cancer biology; non-communicable diseases

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Guest Editor
Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town 7501, South Africa
Interests: hypertension; cardiovascular diseases; cardiotoxicity; CVD risk
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Guest Editor
Chemistry Department, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town 7530, South Africa
Interests: natural products; drug discovery; phytochemistry; phytomedicine; medicinal chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since ancient times, plants have helped to combat all the plaques encountered by mankind, from infectious diseases to metabolic diseases and chronic diseases. Traditional medicinal plants play a significant role in discovering novel and effective therapeutics to tackle many diseases.

Although the screening of natural products is the most practical and rapid approach adopted by scientists in the quest for finding a safe and efficient therapeutic drug, the main challenge generally associated with the use of traditional plant-based medicines is the lack of scientific data to support their efficacy. Once supported by scientific data, traditional medicine can prove to be a rapid and more practical approach for finding new therapeutics with favorable efficacy and tolerable toxicity.

The Special Issue on the “Plant-based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications” invites reviews and original research articles highlighting the progress made in the use of plant extractions for drug design and development of various diseases, in silico and green nanotechnology strategies are also encouraged.

Dr. Nicole Remaliah Samantha Sibuyi
Dr. Jyoti Sharma
Prof. Dr. Rabia Johnson
Dr. Rajan Sharma
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • phytomedicine
  • nanomaterials
  • green nanotechnology
  • rapid diagnostic systems
  • infectious diseases
  • chronic diseases
  • non-communicable diseases

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 2126 KiB  
Article
1-Deoxynojirimycin Attenuates High-Glucose-Induced Oxidative DNA Damage via Activating NRF2/OGG1 Signaling
by Yuwei Chen and Jun Wang
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(8), 3186; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14083186 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 483
Abstract
1-Deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) is a type of alkaloid that mainly exists in mulberry fruit and leaves. DNJ inhibits α-glucosidase, reduces the absorption of sugar, and suppresses after-meal hyperglycemia. It was reported that DNJ functions in attenuating cellular oxidative stress. However, the mechanisms remain largely [...] Read more.
1-Deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) is a type of alkaloid that mainly exists in mulberry fruit and leaves. DNJ inhibits α-glucosidase, reduces the absorption of sugar, and suppresses after-meal hyperglycemia. It was reported that DNJ functions in attenuating cellular oxidative stress. However, the mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study, we firstly confirmed that 5 µmol/L DNJ treatment mitigated the oxidative DNA damage and cell senescence in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) cultured in medium containing 50 mmol/L glucose. Next, we found that DNJ treatment stimulates the expression of anti-oxidative response regulator, Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2) by around 50% in cells cultured with high glucose. In addition, 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (OGG1) was upregulated by over 15% after DNJ treatment to mitigate high-glucose-induced oxidative DNA damage, and it was identified as a downstream target of NRF2. Further, DNJ treatment promoted the phosphorylation and activation of AKT (ser473) by around 50% in cells cultured with high glucose, and AKT inhibitor treatment abrogated DNJ-induced upregulation of NRF2 and OGG1. Taken together, our results indicate that DNJ is an effective natural antioxidant in mitigating high-glucose-induced oxidative stress in HUVEC via activating the AKT-NRF2-OGG1 anti-oxidative response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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15 pages, 3614 KiB  
Article
Immune-Enhancing Effects of Marine Algae Extracts: Modulation of Macrophage Activation by Sargassum horneri, Sargassum fusiforme, and Undaria pinnatifida
by Sanjay, Na Young Yoon, Eun-Jung Park and Hae-Jeung Lee
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 1794; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14051794 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 841
Abstract
The immune system acts as a defense mechanism against foreign antigens. Impairment of the immune system leads to the development of chronic diseases such as respiratory infections, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegeneration. Macrophages, natural scavengers that are part of innate immunity, are known [...] Read more.
The immune system acts as a defense mechanism against foreign antigens. Impairment of the immune system leads to the development of chronic diseases such as respiratory infections, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegeneration. Macrophages, natural scavengers that are part of innate immunity, are known to directly participate in scavenging foreign antigens. The functional modulation of macrophages could be an effective treatment for pathogens. Seaweeds are marine macroalgae known to exhibit multiple bioactive properties. Thus, this study evaluated the immune-enhancing properties of marine brown algae extracts of Sargassum horneri (SH), Undaria pinnatifida (UP), and Sargassum fusiforme (SF) on murine macrophage cells. The results showed that all three algal extracts stimulated cell proliferation. SH and UP outshined SF in enhancing the expression levels of IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-6 at almost all the concentrations tested as compared to SF which showed similar effects only at 200 or 400 μg/mL. A similar trend was seen in TNF-α, NO, and PGE2 production. Additionally, only SH and SF could enhance the mRNA expression levels of IL-12, and only SH upregulated the mRNA expression level of IL-10. The algal extracts also enhanced the phagocytosis activity of macrophages at 50–400 μg/mL for SH and 100–400 μg/mL for UP and SF. In conclusion, we found that these algal extracts could be considered immunomodulators that enhance the functional activity of macrophages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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20 pages, 3772 KiB  
Article
Derivatives of Betulin and Betulinic Acid Containing a Phosphonate Group—In Silico Studies and Preliminary In Vitro Assessment of Antiviral Activity
by Ewa Bębenek, Paweł Pęcak, Monika Kadela-Tomanek, Beata Orzechowska and Elwira Chrobak
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1452; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041452 - 9 Feb 2024
Viewed by 840
Abstract
Viral diseases affecting both humans and animals are a serious public problem. Chemical modifications of the structure of compounds of natural origin, e.g., betulin, seem to be a promising model in the search for new antiviral agents. The subject of our work was [...] Read more.
Viral diseases affecting both humans and animals are a serious public problem. Chemical modifications of the structure of compounds of natural origin, e.g., betulin, seem to be a promising model in the search for new antiviral agents. The subject of our work was to conduct preliminary tests on the antiviral activity of phosphonic derivatives of betulin and betulinic acid and to assess the pharmacokinetic profile of target compounds. Human (HHV-1, HAdV-5) and animal viruses (BEV, VSV) were used in the in vitro tests. Additionally, this paper presents the results of research using in silico methods (ADMET and molecular docking). Two compounds (betulin 29-phosphonate 3 and 3-(3′,3′-dimethylsuccinyl)betulin acid 29-phosphonate 8a) showed antiviral activity against BEV, and compound 3 was also active against HAdV-5. For compound 3, which showed advantageous pharmacokinetic parameters, molecular docking was performed to determine possible interactions with the cellular target HAdV-5 endopeptidase, which plays an important role in various functions of the virus. Selecting the most active derivatives makes it possible to plan tests on an animal model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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22 pages, 4674 KiB  
Article
Antioxidant and Anticancer Activity of Pericarp Water Extracts of Mediterranean Ancient Chestnut Accessions
by Ylenia Spissu, Maria Giovanna Molinu, Guy D’hallewin, Giulia Sanna, Gavina Rita Serra, Antonella Muroni and Antonio Barberis
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 1422; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14041422 - 8 Feb 2024
Viewed by 671
Abstract
The residue of chestnut processing generates a large amount of waste material, a resource not adequately exploited. The antioxidant and antitumoral properties of cold and hot water extracts from discarded pericarp of four chestnut Sardinian accessions and one marron variety were studied. The [...] Read more.
The residue of chestnut processing generates a large amount of waste material, a resource not adequately exploited. The antioxidant and antitumoral properties of cold and hot water extracts from discarded pericarp of four chestnut Sardinian accessions and one marron variety were studied. The antioxidant capacity of the extracts was determined by spectrophotometric and electrochemical tests. The 1,1-diphenyl-2-pic-rylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2′-azinobis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS) results were highly correlated with each other; likewise, a good correlation was found between Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) and cyclic voltammetry (CV) values, both based on the direct transfer of electrons. The antiproliferative effect on normal cells (fibroblasts), and on colon (RKO and SW48) and breast (MCF7) cancer cells was evaluated. Additionally, this paper marks the first application of chestnut extracts to investigate their effects on melanoma (B16F10) cells. The MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) test demonstrated that temperature and different extraction times significantly influenced the growth of cells, both normal and tumor. The fibroblast growth was significantly inhibited by moderate doses of cold extracts, while the GI50 values calculated for hot extracts were high, regardless of the accession or cultivar. An even more marked inhibitory action of the cold extracts was observed both on the growth of RKO and SW48 cells and on B16F10 melanoma cells. Otherwise, an extract concentration, both cold and hot, of no less than 243 µg mL−1 is required to achieve a 50% inhibition of MCF7 cell growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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12 pages, 813 KiB  
Article
Greek Fir Seeds and Cones as Underestimated Source of Essential Oil: Composition and Biological Properties
by Anna Wajs-Bonikowska, Łukasz Szoka, Paweł Kwiatkowski and Ewa Maciejczyk
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(24), 13238; https://doi.org/10.3390/app132413238 - 14 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
Greek fir (Abies cephalonica) seeds and cone scales were used, for the first time, for an analysis of their biologically active volatile compounds. It was observed that the yield of seed essential oil was 18%, which, among plants, is impressive. The [...] Read more.
Greek fir (Abies cephalonica) seeds and cone scales were used, for the first time, for an analysis of their biologically active volatile compounds. It was observed that the yield of seed essential oil was 18%, which, among plants, is impressive. The seed essential oil was characterized by a distinctive forest scent with a subtle lemon undertone. The determination of the chemical compositions of the hydrodistilled oils isolated from the seeds and cone scales, achieved via chromatographic and spectroscopic methods (MS, NMR), revealed more than 100 compounds, mostly monoterpene hydrocarbons. The above methods allowed for the identification of 99.4% and 98.3% of the total seed and cone scale oil compositions, respectively. Limonene in its enantiomeric levorotatory form (S) constituted over 80% of the essential oil isolated from the Abies cephalonica seeds. This abundance of limonene makes them a potential natural source for obtaining this compound, which has demonstrated various biological properties. The main cone essential oil compounds were α- and β-pinenes as well as limonene. The cytotoxic effects of both essential oils were analyzed using the MTT assay in skin fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and melanoma cell lines, in the range of 0.012–0.2 μL/mL of essential oil. The cone scale essential oil was slightly more cytotoxic and induced a decrease in the cell viability in concentrations of 0.05–0.1 μL/mL, with small differences between the cell lines. The tested essential oils did not have selective effects on the melanoma cells (A375 and C32) when compared with normal cells. Both the seed and cone scale essential oils revealed good antimicrobial effects on Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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16 pages, 4055 KiB  
Article
Anticancer and Drug-Sensitizing Activities of Gold Nanoparticles Synthesized from Cyclopia genistoides (Honeybush) Extracts
by Jyoti Rajan Sharma, Nicole Remaliah Samantha Sibuyi, Adewale Oluwaseun Fadaka, Samantha Meyer, Abram Madimabe Madiehe, Kattesh Katti and Mervin Meyer
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 3973; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13063973 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1714
Abstract
Synthesis of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) using phytochemicals has become tremendously prominent in biomedical applications because of its enhanced bioactivity and biocompatibility. In this study, water extracts from the leaves of Cyclopia genistoides (C. genistoides), commonly known as honeybush (HB), were [...] Read more.
Synthesis of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) using phytochemicals has become tremendously prominent in biomedical applications because of its enhanced bioactivity and biocompatibility. In this study, water extracts from the leaves of Cyclopia genistoides (C. genistoides), commonly known as honeybush (HB), were used to synthesize honeybush gold nanoparticles (HB-AuNPs). The HB water extracts (HBE) served as both reducing and capping agents in the synthesis of HB-AuNPs. The HB-AuNPs were characterized by UV–Vis spectrophotometry, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The cytotoxicity and apoptotic effects of the HBE and HB-AuNPs, alone and in combination with doxorubicin (Dox), were examined against various human cell lines. Spherical-shaped HB-AuNPs with a hydrodynamic diameter range of 63 to 121 nm were produced. The HB-AuNPs conferred selective cytotoxicity against colon (Caco-2), breast (MCF-7), and prostate (PC-3) cancer cells and did not display any cytotoxicity to non-cancerous skin fibroblast (KMST-6) and human embryonic kidney (HEK)-293 cells. Moreover, co-treatment of Caco-2 cells with HB-AuNPs and Dox (at non-toxic concentrations) significantly enhanced the anti-cancer effects of Dox towards the Caco-2 cells. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that HB-AuNPs induced PC-3 cell death through apoptosis. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the mechanisms by which the HB-AuNPs influence cell death when used alone or in combination with drugs, as well as the type of phytochemicals involved in AuNPs synthesis and activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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Review

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22 pages, 2801 KiB  
Review
Acorns as a Source of Valuable Compounds for Food and Medical Applications: A Review of Quercus Species Diversity and Laboratory Studies
by Emilia Szabłowska and Małgorzata Tańska
Appl. Sci. 2024, 14(7), 2799; https://doi.org/10.3390/app14072799 - 27 Mar 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
Acorns, the fruit of oak trees of the genus Quercus, have been known to people for generations worldwide. In ancient times, they were an important part of culinary traditions and folk medicine. Their exploitation for food over the years has been significantly [...] Read more.
Acorns, the fruit of oak trees of the genus Quercus, have been known to people for generations worldwide. In ancient times, they were an important part of culinary traditions and folk medicine. Their exploitation for food over the years has been significantly diminished, which may arise from the high content of tannins responsible for a bitter taste and anti-nutritional properties. However, more and more studies show acorns’ potential nutritional and health benefits. Furthermore, new reports are emphasizing the health-promoting properties of tannin-decomposition products. This review aims to present the available studies on the phytoconstituents variation in the acorns of different Quercus species and their possible significance for food and medical applications. In this study, the results of lab-scale food processing, as well as in vivo and in vitro experiments, are included. The literature data proved that acorn products (flour, oil, and extracts) are intensively examined due to their dietary, antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective activities provided by their bioactive compounds. The general conclusion is that this raw material can be used more widely in the future as an ingredient in functional foods, supplements, and drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Based Compounds or Extractions for Medical Applications)
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