The use of plants and their derived substances increases day by day for the discovery of therapeutic agents owing to their versatile applications. Current research is directed towards finding naturally-occurring antioxidants having anticancer properties from plant origin since oxidants play a crucial role in developing various human diseases. The present study was designed to investigate the antioxidant and anticancer properties of Sygygium fruticosum (Roxb.) (abbreviated as SF).
The dried coarse powder of seeds of SF was exhaustively extracted with methanol and the resulting crude methanolic extract (CME) was successively fractionated with petroleum ether, chloroform and ethyl acetate to get petroleum ether (PEF), chloroform (CHF), ethyl acetate (EAF) and lastly aqueous (AQF) fraction. The antioxidant activities were determined by several assays: total antioxidant capacity assay, DPPH free radical scavenging assay, hydroxyl radical scavenging assay, ferrous reducing antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation inhibition assay. The in vivo anticancer activity of SF was determined on Ehrlich's Ascite cell (EAC) induced Swiss albino mice.
All the extractives showed strong antioxidant activities related to the standard. The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of the fractions was in the following order: EAF>AQF>CME>PEF>CHF. The TAC of EAF at 320 μg/mL was 2.60±0.005 which was significantly higher (p < 0.01) than that of standard catechin (1.37 ± 0.005). The ferrous reducing antioxidant capacity of the extracts was in the following order: EAF>AQF>CME>AA>CHF>PEF. In DPPH free radical scavenging assay, the IC50 value of EAF was 4.85 μg/mL, whereas that of BHT was 9.85 μg/mL. In hydroxyl radical scavenging assay and lipid peroxidation inhibition assay, the EAF showed the most potent inhibitory activity with IC50 of 43.3 and 68.11 μg/mL, respectively. The lipid peroxidation inhibition assay was positively correlated (p < 0 .001) with both DPPH free radical scavenging and hydroxyl radical scavenging assay. The total phenolic contents of SF were also positively correlated (p < 0 .001) with DPPH free radical scavenging, hydroxyl radical scavenging and lipid peroxidation inhibition assay. Based on antioxidant activity, EAF was selected for cytotoxic assay and it was found that EAF inhibited 67.36% (p < 0.01) cell growth at a dose of 50 mg/kg (ip) on day six of EAC cell incubation.
Our results suggest that EAF of seeds of SF possess significant antioxidant and moderate anticancer properties. Seeds of SF may therefore be a good source for natural antioxidants and a possible pharmaceutical supplement.