Methanol extracts from the leaves, bark and roots of four Cameroonian medicinal plants, Bersama engleriana, Cupressus lusitanica, Vitellaria paradoxa and Guibourtia tessmannii were tested for their in vitro cytotoxicity, antigonorrheal and antireverse transcriptase activities. The XTT (2,3-bis[2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxyanilide inner salt) assay, the dilution method and reverse transcriptase (RT) assay were used for the investigations. Preliminary phytochemical analysis of the extracts was also conducted using standard methods. Results showed that all extracts contained compounds belonging to the classes of phenols and terpenoids. They were also able to reduce in dose dependent manner, the proliferation of the cancer THP-1, DU145, HeLa, MCF-7, HepG2 and the normal Vero cells. IC(50) values below 30μg/ml were noted with extract from the three parts of B. engleriana on at least two of the five studied cancer cell lines, the lowest value of 5.9μg/ml being obtained with sample from the bark. IC(50) values below 30μg/ml were also recorded with extracts from the leaves (on HeLa cells) and bark (on MCF-7) of G. tessmanii, and that from the bark of C. lusitanica on MCF-7. Extracts from B. engleriana and those from the bark of V. paradoxa gave the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) values below 100μg/ml on most of the 10 tested Nesseria gonorrhoeae strains. Extracts from B. engleriana also inhibited more than 80% the activity of the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) enzyme. Finally, the results of the present study provide baseline information for the use of B. engleriana, C. lusitanica, G. tessmanii, V. paradoxa.
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