Background-chlorhexidine (CHX) is most commonly used as a chemical plaque control agent. Nevertheless, its adverse effects, including teeth discoloration, taste alteration and calculus build-up, limit its use and divert us to medicinal herbs. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the phytochemical composition, antioxidant potential, and cytotoxic effects of Mimusops elengi Linn extract (ME) over normal human cultured adult gingival fibroblasts (HGFs). Methods-in vitro phytochemical screening, total flavonoid content, antioxidant potential by DPPH and Nitric Oxide (NO) radical scavenging activity, and cytotoxic effects of ME extracts over HGF were explored. The viability of HGF cells was determined using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT), neutral red uptake, and trypan blue assay after treatment with different concentrations of CHX and ME (0.3125 to 10 µg/mL). Results-ME showed some alkaloids, glycosides, saponins and flavonoids exhibited relatively moderate-to-good antioxidant potential. Increasing the concentration of CHX and ME from 0.3125 to 10 µg/mL reduced cell viability from 29.71% to 1.07% and 96.12% to 56.02%, respectively. At higher concentrations, CHX reduced the viability of cells by 52.36-fold compared to ME, revealed by MTT assay. At 10 µg/mL concentration, the mean cell viability of CHX and ME-treated cells was 2.24% and 57.45%, respectively, revealed by a neutral red assay. The viability of CHX- and ME-treated HGF cells estimated at higher concentrations (10 µg/mL) using trypan blue assay was found to be 2.18% and 47.36%, respectively. A paired t-test showed significance (p < 0.05), and one-way ANOVA difference between the mean cell viability of CHX- and ME-treated cells at different concentrations. One-way ANOVA confirmed the significant difference between the viability of CHX- and ME-treated cells. Conclusions-The cytoprotective and antioxidant effects of ME emphasize its potential benefits. Therefore, it could emerge as a herbal alternative and adjunct to conventional oral hygiene methods, that can diminish periodontal tissue destruction.
Keywords: chlorhexidine; cytotoxicity; fibroblast; gingival; herbs; medicinal.