Screening of traditional European herbal medicines for acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activity

Open access

Screening of traditional European herbal medicines for acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activity

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors are widely used for the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to enhance central cholinergic transmission. On the other hand, butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) inhibitors were reported to produce a significant increase in brain extracellular AChE without triggering severe peripheral or central side effects. In the present study, we selected twelve plants used in traditional European medicine to treat different central nervous system (CNS) disorders or to improve memory.

Methanolic and hexane extracts of these plants were tested for the AChE and BuChE inhibitory activity using Ellman's colorimetric method. The most potent AChE and BuChE inhibition was observed in the hexane extracts of the flowers of Arnica chamissonis Less. subs. foliosa and Ruta graveolens L. herb at a concentration of 400 μg mL-1. However, methanolic extracts of the flowers of Arnica chamissonis Less. subs. foliosa and the Hypericum perforatum L. herb demonstrated at the same concentration, selective inhibition only against AChE but not against BuChE. The other extracts did not show any significant AChE or BuChE inhibitory activity. Our results show that further investigations of the extracts of arnica, rue and St. John's Wort are needed to identity the compounds responsible for the AChE and BuChE inhibitory activity.

R.M. Lane, S.G. Potkin and A. Enz, Targeting acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase in dementia, Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol. 9 (2006) 101-124; DOI: 10.1017/S1461145705005833.

R.J. Houghton and M.J. Howes, Natural products and derivatives affecting neurotransmission relevant to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, Neurosignals 14 (2005) 2-22; DOI: 10.1159/000085382.

G.L. Ellman, D. Courtney, V. Andres and R.M. Featherstone, A new and rapid colorimetric determination of acetylcholinesterase activity, Biochem. Pharmacol. 7 (1961) 88-95; DOI: 10.1016/0006-2952(61)90145-9.

A. Marston, J. Kissling and K. Hostettman, A rapid TLC bioautographic method for the detection of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors in plants, Phytochem. Anal. 13 (2002) 51-54; DOI: 10.1002/pca.623.

N. Perry, G. Court, N. Bidet, J. Court and E. Perry, European herbs with cholinergic activities: potential in dementia therapy, Int. J. Geriatr. Psychiatr. 11 (1996) 1063-1069; DOI: 10.1002/(SICI) 1099-1166(199612)11:12<1063::AID-GPS532>3.0.CO;2-1.

A. Adsersen, B. Gauguin, L. Gudiksen and A.K. Jäger, Screening of plants used in Danish folk medicine to treat memory dysfunction for acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity, J. Ethnopharmacol. 104 (2006) 418-422; DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2005.09.032.

S.Y. Kang, K.Y. Lee, S.H. Sung, M.J. Park and Y.C. Kim, Coumarins isolated from Angelica gigas inhibit acetylcholinesterase: structure-activity relationships, J. Nat. Prod. 64 (2001) 683-685; DOI: 10.1021/np000441w.

A. Ferreira, C. Proenca, M.L. Serralheiro and M.E. Araujo, The in vitro screening for acetylcholinesterase inhibition and antioxidant activity of medicinal plants from Portugal, J. Ethnopharmacol. 108 (2006) 31-37; DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2006.04.010.

T. Mennini and M. Gobbi, The antidepressant mechanism of Hypericum perforatum, Life Sci. 9 (2004) 1021-1027; DOI: 10.1016/j.lfs.2004.04.005.

G. Romussi, G. Ciarallo, G. Falsone and C. Schneider, Constituents of Boraginaceae. - Triterpene saponins from Anchusa officinalis L., Liebigs Ann. Chem. 12 (1979); DOI: 10.1002/jlac.197919791213.

P. Bradley, British Herbal Compendium, Vol. 2, 1st ed., British Herbal Medicine Association, Bournemouth 2006.

M. Wichtl, Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals, 5th ed., Medpharm Scientific Publishers, Stuttgart 2009.

H.U. Wolf, Hager's Textbook of Pharmaceutical Practice, Vol. 5, 5th ed., Springer Heidelberg 1993, p. 223.

E. Teuscher, M. Melzig and U. Lindequist, Biogenic Drugs, 6th ed., Medpharm Scientific Publishers, Stuttgart 2004, p. 528.

Acta Pharmaceutica

The Journal of Croatian Pharmaceutical Society

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.071
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.623

CiteScore 2017: 1.46

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.362
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.642

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 265 265 41
PDF Downloads 140 140 24