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   Table of Contents - Current issue
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January-March 2019
Volume 18 | Issue 1
Page Nos. 1-73

Online since Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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REVIEW ARTICLE  

Natural phenolics: a source of anticancer agents p. 1
Mohamed Amin El-Ansari, Lamyaa Fawzy Ibrahim, Mohamed Sharaf
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_43_18  
Cancer is a worldwide scourge, which affects people of all ages, and is rapidly becoming a global pandemic. It is one of the main leading causes of death especially in developing countries. Mankind has been trying hard to find better and cheaper treatments with fewer side effects to reduce the incidence of the disease and its consequent mortality. Natural phenolics play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. Phenolics from medicinal plants are responsible for their chemopreventive properties and also contribute to their activity as apoptosis inducers. For many years, phenolic compounds have been intensely studied, in vitro and in vivo, for their antitumor effects. In recent years, the use of these compounds has increased considerably. In this regard, this article provides an overview of some natural phenolic compounds with approved anticancer activities.
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ORIGINAL ARTICLES Top

GABAA receptor plasticity in neuropathic pain: pain and memory effects in adult female rats p. 8
Azeez O Ishola, Adesola T Ademola, Rosemary K Allen, Babafemi J Laoye, Oluwamolakun T Bankole, Moyosore S Ajao, Philip A Adeniyi
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_20_18  
Background Neuropathic pain has been shown to increase excitability of neurons. This indicates altered inhibitory mechanism of the nervous system. Objective This work was aimed to assess GABAA receptors plasticity in the brain and spinal cord. Materials and methods Fifteen adult female rats were used. Ten animals have their sciatic nerve ligated with no treatment (LIG), and with diazepam treatment for 14 days (LIG+GABA) and the other five were used as the sham group. Pain was assessed using a hot plate and formalin test, while the spatial memory was assessed using Y-maze. At the end of the treatment, the animals were euthanized and fixed using the transcardial perfusion fixation method. The spinal cord, cingulate cortex, and the hippocampus were serially sectioned and stained for GABAA receptor immunohistochemically. Quantification was done using ImageJ software. Data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance and Newman Tukey post-hoc test significant level was set at P less than 0.05. Results A low level of pain was observed in LIG and LIG+GABA animals on both formalin and hot plate test compared with the control. Memory impairment was found only in the LIG+GABA group. Stereology counting showed that GABAA receptors reduced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of LIG-treated animals which was reversed in LIG+GABA, but in the cingulate cortex, GABAA receptors were increased in LIG animals and LIG+GABA more than the control while the spinal cord shows no significant difference. Conclusion GABAA agonist treatment did not alleviate the symptoms of neuropathic pain due to GABA signaling changing to excitatory in nature.
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Winter weeds and its control in the medicinal plants in Egypt: a survey study p. 16
Saber Fayez Hendawy, Hussein F Abouziena, Tamer M Abd El-Razik, Heba M Amer, Mohamed S Hussein
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_13_18  
Weed control is the main obstacle in the production of medicinal plants, especially in organic farming where the growers cannot use synthetic herbicides. For understanding the impact of weeds on the productivity of medicinal plants, the common weeds and weed control practices of more than 20 cultivated medicinal plants were evaluated in eight regions in Egypt with several of climatic conditions and soil types. All tested farms that have applied the organic farming systems and their products are mainly for export. The large-scale weed surveys have shown that the most problematic weed species in medicinal plant crops is Senecio desfontainei because it is content of pyrrolizidine alkaloid plants. The dominant weeds associated with the medicinal plant fields were Malva parviflora (16.8%), Chenopodium album (12.4%), Medicago intertexta (8.8%), Anagallis arvensis (8.8%), Sonchus oleraceus (6.2%), Beta vulgaris (5.3%) Brassica kaber (5.3%), Cichorium pumilum (3.5%), Melilotus indica (3.5%), Euphorbia geniculata (3.5%), S. desfontainei (1.8%), Emex spinosus (0.9), Solanium nigrum (0.9%), and Conyza linifolia (0.9%). The narrow-leaf weeds are Lolium multiflorum (7.1%), Avena fatua (6.2%), Phalaris minor (2.7%), and Polypogon monspeliensis (1.0%). The perennial broad-leaf and narrow-leaf weeds were Convolvulus arvensis (3.5%) and Cyperus rotundus (0.9%). The results of the survey indicated that the crop type and location had a significant effect on weed species and their frequencies and abundances. The common practice for weed control in the medicinal plants is hand weeding, mulch, acetic acid, presowing false irrigation, and mechanical weeding (in limited area). The efforts must be taken regarding search for safe, new, and nontraditional weed control methods to apply in the medicinal plant fields.
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Biochemical studies and biological activities on L-glutaminase from rhizosphere soil Streptomyces rochei SAH2_CWMSG p. 27
Hassan M Awad, Azza M.Noor El-Deen, El-Sayed E Mostafa, Amany A Hassabo
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_32_18  
Background and objective L-glutaminase (L-GLUNase) is a potential anticancer enzyme that hydrolyzes amide bond of L-glutamine to give glutamate and ammonium ion. It is used as an antioxidant, a flavor enhancing agent and a biosensor for glutamine level measurement. The aim was to produce L-GLUNase in high yield from a promising local Streptomyces isolate for many pharmaceutical applications. Materials and methods A total of 20 Streptomyces isolates for their capacity of L-GLUNase production were screened. A potent L-GLUNase producer, SAH2_CWMSG isolate, was identified by phenotypic and phylogenetic analysis. L-GLUNase was purified using ammonium sulfate followed by gel filtration on Sephadex G-100. The purified L-GLUNase was characterized, and its application as an antimicrobial, anticancer, and antioxidant agent was investigated. Results and conclusion The phylogenetic analysis of SAH2_CWMSG strain confirmed that the SAH2_CWMSG strain was most similar to Streptomyces rochei (99%). It produced L-GLUNase activity of 58 U/ml under shake flask submerged fermentation. The purified L-GLUNase has the molecular weight of 55 kDa and Km and Vmax value of 1.314 mmol/l and 95.24 μ Me/min, respectively. Of the various physiochemical parameters tested, pH 7.5 and temperature 40°C were optimal for the enzyme activity. On the contrary, 10 mmol/l of Mn+2 showed a slight increase in L-GLUNase activity. A promising Streptomyces sp. fully identified as S. rochei SAH2_CWMSG (Gen Bank ID: KU720627) is an efficient source of L-GLUNase production. Therefore, it can be potentially used as enzyme supplement, which has many industrial and pharmaceutical applications.
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Production, characterization, and antioxidant activities of bacterial exopolysaccharides extracted from petroleum oil water p. 42
Sahar S Mohamed, Manal S Selim, Manal G Mahmoud, Abeer Y Ibrahim, Eman A Ghazy
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_36_18  
Backgroundand objective There are large quantities of water produced during the extraction of petroleum oil called ‘produced water’. The aim of this research is to isolate and identify bacteria produced exopolysaccharides (EPSs) present in this water and to evaluate their antioxidant activities as medicinal value. Materials and methods First isolation of Fe, Mn, and biofilm bacteria, next production of of EPSs, then morphological, physiological, and molecular characterization of isolates produced EPSs. Finally, study the characters of EPSs chemically and evaluate the antioxidant activity of EPSs by DPPH (1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) radical-scavenging model, reducing power, and by superoxide anion-scavenging activity. Results and conclusion Three bacteria were isolated from water of petroleum oil (produced water).These isolates produced water-soluble EPSs called Fe, Mn, and BF-EPSs and the highest production were 4.5, 7.5, and 5 g/l, respectively. The isolates were identified as Bacillus subtilis SMM1, Bacillus pumilus SMM2, and Bacillus tequilensis SMM3. Results showed that the three EPSs were acidic with different compositions of monosaccharide and different molar ratio. Uronic acid and SO3 were estimated. EPSs scavenged superoxide radical (O2−), DPPH radicals, and reducing power property. Fe-EPS was the most effective one in scavenging the superoxide radical and DPPH radicals while the highest reductant is BF-EPS. The obtained results demonstrated that all EPSs that have strong antioxidant activity can be used in medicinal and nutritional applications related to reduction of oxidative stress.
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Chemical composition of Mentha pulegium L. (Pennyroyal) plant as influenced by foliar application of different sources of zinc p. 53
Eman E Aziz, Abdelhalim I Rezk, Elsayed A Omer, Osama A Nofal, Zeinab A Salama, Hend Fouad, Rasha Fouad
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_38_18  
Background and objective Mentha pulegium L. is commonly known as pennyroyal and it is highly aromatic than any other mint. The essential oil could be considered as a possible candidate for human cancer chemotherapy. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of different sources of zinc (algae extract, zinc sulfate, zinc multi, and zinc chelated) on herb yield, nutrient contents and their uptake, carbonic anhydrase, and essential oil production of M. pulegium plant. Materials and methods A field experiment was carried out under drip irrigated sandy soil at the Experimental Station of National Research Centre in Nubaria district, El-Behira Governorate, Egypt. Macronutrients and micronutrients contents of herb, nutrient uptake, carbonic anhydrase activity, and essential oil content were determined. Essential oil constituents were analyzed by chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results The results showed that algae extract followed by zinc multi significantly increased herb fresh and dry weight yield, nutrients content and their uptake, as well as showed the stimulatory impact on carboxylation enzyme activities. The highest essential oil yield (0.93 ml/plant and 20.67 l/ha) was recorded with algae extract, followed by zinc multi (0.80 ml/plant and 17.78 l/ha) than zinc chelate (0.50 ml/plant and 11.11 l/ha). Chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses of the essential oil showed that the essential oil composition was characterized by a high percentage of oxygenated compounds (96.83–97.33%) while the nonoxygenated compounds ranged from 2.48 to 2.89%. The major constituents of oxygenated compounds were found to be pulegone (67.75–74.43%) followed by neomenthone (10.66–17.12%). Algae extract and zinc multi produced the highest relative concentration of neomenthone (17.12 and 16.72%) and the lowest concentration of pulegone (67.75 and 67.97%). In contrast, foliar application of zinc chelated and zinc sulfate increased the biosynthesis of pulegone (74.43 and 73.98%) and decreased the percent of neomenthone (11.39 and 10.66%). Conclusion It might be concluded that the foliar application of zinc as algae extract followed by zinc multi chelated gave remarkable higher increases in herb yield, nutrients content and their uptake, carbonic anhydrase and essential oil production of M. pulegium plant.
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Elusive function of dental plaque polysaccharide produced from Kocuria rosae and it’s molecular signature p. 60
Dina A Maany, Amr A El-Waseif, Manal F.M Abdelall
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_40_18  
Background Exopolysaccharides have been generally recognized as safe compounds, meaning that they do not represent a health risk when used. Owing to these properties, they have many applications in industrial areas and in healthcare. Our aim is to identify an extracellular polysaccharide (EPS)-producing strain from dental plaque bacteria and the verification of its polysaccharide’s antitumor effect. Materials and methods Isolation of 22 dental plaque bacterial isolates from plaque samples of nine patients was carried out using pour plate method. The selection of the strain for molecular identification was done according to EPS production, whereas isolate no. 4 was identified by 16S rRNA sequencing analysis. Structure characterization of the EPS was described using UV and SEM images. The cytotoxic experiment was performed to investigate the inhibitory effect of different concentrations of EPS on the growth of cell line MCF7 human White breast adenocarcinoma. Results and conclusion Oral plaque bacteria vary greatly in their occurrence, depending on age, presence of systemic diseases, and personal oral hygiene. The amount of EPS produced from oral plaque bacteria also varies, though in general Gram-negative bacteria yielded larger amounts of EPS. Results revealed that isolate no. 4 is the most producer of EPS, identified as Kocuria rosea strain Y57, having 96% similarity with Kocuria spp. The biosynthesis of EPS from K. rosea using Luria–Bertani broth medium at 37°C for 24 h gave an EPS yield of 213 μg/ml. EPS from K. rosea is a powder with white color and is water soluble. Our results of in-vitro EPS assay against MCF7 human White breast adenocarcinoma released activity with LC50 213 μg/ml.
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Antioxidant and antibacterial properties of anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) p. 68
Ahmed M Amer, Usama I Aly
DOI:10.4103/epj.epj_44_18  
Background There is a great interest in the discovery of novel natural bioactive compounds in today’s world. Plants, in particular, from different ecological niches and taxonomic groups are known to produce a high number of naturally occurring secondary metabolites, many of them with unique pharmacological activities. Therefore, the primary aim of the study was to investigate the antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of anise. Materials and methods The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of different solvent extracts (ethanol and water) prepared from two parts (seeds and aerial parts) of Pimpinella anisum were evaluated. The antioxidant capacity was studied through the evaluation of the free radical-scavenging effect on the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical. The antimicrobial activity was analyzed using the well diffusion method, where zones of inhibition were used as indicators of antimicrobial activity. Results and conclusion The highest percentage of radical-scavenging activity (91.3±1.8%) was recorded for the ethanolic extract of seeds at a concentration of 0.3 mg/ml, followed by the aqueous extract of seeds (82.0±1.2%), whereas the aqueous extract of aerial parts demonstrated the lowest frequency of radical-scavenging activity (39.0±1.7%) at the same tested concentration. The largest inhibition zones were determined to be 21.0±1.2, 18.3±1.5, 9.7±1.2, and 7.0±1.2 mm for Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium, and Escherichia coli, respectively. On the whole, the results demonstrated the superiority of seed extracts over aerial part extracts. The results also indicated the stronger activity of ethanolic extracts compared with aqueous extracts. These results offer insights into the antioxidant and the antimicrobial potency of this Egyptian local plant and provide a basis for further phytochemical and pharmacological research.
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