Comparative DNA profiling, phytochemical investigation, and biological evaluation of two Ficus species growing in Egypt

Pharmacognosy Res. 2013 Oct;5(4):291-9. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.118815.


Aim and background: A comparison between two Ficus species, cultivated in Egypt, was carried out in this study. Their DNA analysis revealed that they are not closely related.

Materials and methods: The pharmacopoeial constants of the leaves showed higher total ash and acid insoluble ash in F. lyrata than in F. platypoda. The other parameters were close in both species. Preliminary phytochemical screening revealed the presence of carbohydrate and/or glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, and triterpenes in their leaves and was detected in traces in their stems.

Results: Saponification of n-hexane extract of the leaves yielded 46% and 74.8% for the unsaponifiable matters and 20% and 15% for the fatty acids for F. platypoda and F. lyrata, respectively. n-Docosane (21.69%) and n-heptacosane (33.77%) were the major hydrocarbons in F. platypoda and F. lyrata, respectively. b-Sitosterol was the main sterol, palmitic (22.07%) and carboceric (35.72%) acids were the major identified saturated fatty acids in both species, while linoleic acid was the main unsaturated fatty acid (18.66% and 16.7%) in both species, respectively. The acute toxicity study revealed that the two species were safe up to 2 g/kg. The antioxidant activity using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay and pyrogallol as the standard was more significant for F. platypoda (232.6 μg/ml) than for F. lyrata, (790.9 μg/ml). The oral antihyperglycemic activity in diabetic rats using alloxan revealed that the 80% ethanolic extract of the leaves of F. platypoda was more active than that of the leaves of F. lyrata in decreasing the blood glucose level at 200 mg/kg/day (107.9 ± 5.817, 127.2 ± 4.359) and 400 mg/kg/day (64.11 ± 4.358, 127.7 ± 6.889), respectively, when compared with the diabetic control gliclazide (172.3 ± 2.089).

Conclusion: The results of this study provide evidence that the two Ficus species have antioxidant and antihyperglycemic activity, in the order F. platypoda and then F. lyrata.

Keywords: Acute toxicity; DNA; Ficus lyrata; Ficus platypoda; antihyperglycemic; antioxidant.