Screening of Indian medicinal plants for acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity.

Research paper by Pulok K PK Mukherjee, Venkatesan V Kumar, Peter J PJ Houghton

Indexed on: 20 Jul '07Published on: 20 Jul '07Published in: Phytotherapy Research


The cholinergic hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has provided the rationale for the current pharmaco-therapy of this disease, in an attempt to reduce the cognitive decline caused by cholinergic deficits. Nevertheless, the search for potent and long-acting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors that exert minimal side effects in AD patients is still ongoing. AChE inhibitors are currently the only approved therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease; only a limited number of drugs are commercially available. Hydroalcohol extracts of six herbs, Andrographis paniculata, Centella asiatica, Evalvulus alsinoides, Nardostachys jatamansi, Nelumbo nucifera, Myristica fragrans used in Indian systems of medicine, were tested for in vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity based on Ellman's method in 96-well microplates using AChE obtained from bovine erythrocytes. The results showed that the hydroalcohol extract from Centella asiatica, Nardostachys jatamansi, Myristica fragrans, Evalvulus alsinoides inhibited 50% of AChE activity at concentrations of 100-150 microg/mL. Andrographis paniculata and Nelumbo nucifera extracts showed a weak inhibition of acetylcholinesterase with IC(50) values of 222.41 +/- 19.87 microg/mL and 185.55 +/- 21.24 microg/mL, respectively. Physostigmine was used as a standard and showed inhibition of acetylcholinesterase with an IC(50) value of 0.076 +/- 0.0042 microg/mL.