Activity of Thymus capitellatus volatile extract, 1,8-cineole and borneol against Leishmania species.Vet Parasitol 2014; 200(1-2):39-49VP
In the search for new leishmanicidal agents, Thymus capitellatus Hoffmanns. & Link (family Lamiaceae) volatile extract and its major compounds, 1,8-cineole and borneol, were tested against Leishmania infantum, Leishmania tropica and Leishmania major. Plant volatile extract (essential oil) was analysed by GC and GC-MS and the activity of essential oil on Leishmania promastigotes viability was assessed using tetrazolium-dye colorimetric method (MTT). The MTT test was also used to assess the cytotoxicity of essential oil on macrophages and bovine aortic endothelial cells. Effects on parasites were also analyzed by flow cytometry in order to assess mitochondrial transmembrane electrochemical gradient (JC-1), analyze phosphatidylserine externalization (annexin V-FITC, propidium iodide) and evaluate cell cycle (DNase-free, RNase, PI). Morphological and ultrastructural studies were performed by light, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. T. capitellatus volatile extract exhibited anti-parasite activity on Leishmania species, with IC50 values ranging from 35 to 62 μg/ml. However, major compounds 1,8-cineole and borneol did not showed biological activity suggesting that these monoterpenes are not responsible for the antileishmanial activity of T. capitellatus essential oil. Appearance of aberrant-shaped cells, mitochondrial swelling and autophagosomal structures were some of the ultrastructural alterations exhibited among treated promastigote cells. T. capitellatus promoted leishmanicidal effect by triggering a programmed cell death as evidenced by externalization of phosphatidylserine, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and cell-cycle arrest at the G(0)/G(1) phase. The volatile extract did not induced cytotoxic effects on mammalian cells. Taken together, these results suggest that T. capitellatus may represent a valuable source for therapeutic control of leishmaniasis in humans and animals.