Anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activities of Bursera copallifera

Pharmacogn Mag. 2015 Oct;11(Suppl 2):S322-8. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.166067.


Background: The plant species Bursera copallifera (DC) bullock is used in traditional medicine to treat inflammation. The leaves of this plant can be prepared as an infusion to treat migraines, bronchitis, and dental pain.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activities of organic extracts from the stems, stem bark, and leaves of B. copallifera, which was selected based on the knowledge of its traditional use.

Materials and methods: We evaluated the ability of extracts to inhibit mouse ear inflammation in response to topical application of 12-O tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. The extracts with anti-inflammatory activity were evaluated for their inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes. In addition, the in vitro cytotoxic activities of the organic extracts were evaluated using the sulforhodamine B assay.

Results: The hydroalcoholic extract of the stems (HAS) exhibited an anti-inflammatory activity of 54.3% (0.5 mg/ear), whereas the anti-inflammatory activity of the dichloromethane-methanol extract from the leaves (DMeL) was 55.4% at a dose of 0.1 mg/ear. Methanol extract from the leaves (MeL) showed the highest anti-inflammatory activity (IC50 = 4.4 μg/mL), hydroalcoholic extract of leaves, and DMeL also reduce the enzyme activity, (IC50 = 6.5 μg/mL, IC50 = 5.7 μg/mL), respectively, from stems HAS exhibit activity at the evaluated concentrations (IC50 =6.4 μg/mL). The hydroalcoholic extract of the stems exhibited the highest cytotoxic activity against a breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MCF7, IC50 = 0.90 μg/mL), whereas DMeL exhibited an IC50 value of 19.9 μg/mL.

Conclusion: In conclusion, extracts from leaves and stems inhibited cyclooxygenase-1, which is the target enzyme for nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs, and some of these extracts demonstrated substantial antiproliferative effects against the MCF7 cell line. These results validate the traditional use of B. copallifera.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Bursera copallifera; cyclooxygenase-2; cytotoxic; phospholipase A2; traditional medicine.