Antibacterial activity of neem nanoemulsion and its toxicity assessment on human lymphocytes in vitro

Int J Nanomedicine. 2015 Oct 1;10 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):77-86. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S79983. eCollection 2015.


Neem (Azadirachta indica) is recognized as a medicinal plant well known for its antibacterial, antimalarial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Neem nanoemulsion (NE) (O/W) is formulated using neem oil, Tween 20, and water by high-energy ultrasonication. The formulated neem NE showed antibacterial activity against the bacterial pathogen Vibrio vulnificus by disrupting the integrity of the bacterial cell membrane. Despite the use of neem NE in various biomedical applications, the toxicity studies on human cells are still lacking. The neem NE showed a decrease in cellular viability in human lymphocytes after 24 hours of exposure. The neem NE at lower concentration (0.7-1 mg/mL) is found to be nontoxic while it is toxic at higher concentrations (1.2-2 mg/mL). The oxidative stress induced by the neem NE is evidenced by the depletion of catalase, SOD, and GSH levels in human lymphocytes. Neem NE showed a significant increase in DNA damage when compared to control in human lymphocytes (P<0.05). The NE is an effective antibacterial agent against the bacterial pathogen V. vulnificus, and it was found to be nontoxic at lower concentrations to human lymphocytes.

Keywords: antibacterial; cytotoxicity; genotoxicity; lymphocytes; nanoemulsion; neem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Azadirachta / chemistry*
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage
  • Emulsions / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Particle Size
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Emulsions