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Evaluation of Antioxidant, Antityrosinase Activities and Cytotoxic Effects of Phyllanthus amarus Extracts

[ Vol. 10 , Issue. 2 ]


Folorunso Adewale Olabiyi, Yapo Guillaume Aboua, Olugbenga Kayode Popoola, Thomas Klaus Monsees and Oluwafemi Omoniyi Oguntibeju*   Pages 130 - 138 ( 9 )


Background: Antioxidant and antityrosinase activities of medicinal plants, together with their various health benefits have received attention in recent times. However, with wide ethnobotanical uses of Phyllanthus amarus, data on in-vitro skin depigmentation activity and cytotoxicity, as well as its impact on mediators of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are still lacking. This present study is, therefore, designed to evaluate its tyrosinase inhibitory action, antioxidant potentials and cytotoxic activities.

Methods: In this study, quantitative determination of polyphenols, flavanol, flavonol, flavonoids, Oxygen Reducing Antioxidant Capacity (ORAC), Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC) were performed on the extracts of P amarus. Also, tyrosinase inhibitory efficacy of the hexane, methanol and aqueous extracts of Phyllanthus amarus were evaluated using ELISA-based methods. Cytotoxicity studies were done with mouse Sertoli (TM4) cells, using MTT assay and cell counts.

Results: The hexane and aqueous extracts exhibited significant antityrosinase activity (p<0.05) (IC50= 116.08 and 129.25 µg/mL respectively) while its methanolic extract produces no statistically significant finding. Higher total polyphenol, flavonoids and flavonol were seen in the methanol fraction of the extract. Besides, higher radical cation scavenging (TEAC) activity was observed in the aqueous extract. These values were significant (p<0.0001), whereas ORAC results of the methanol extract show significantly (p<0.0001) higher oxygen reducing antioxidant potential than the aqueous extract. The aqueous extract showed the highest mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity at lower concentrations (0.01 to 10 μg/ml). Here, TM4 cell numbers were also significantly higher as compared to the untreated control. Sertoli cell viability was compromised after exposure to higher extract concentrations (100 to 1000 µg/ml).

Conclusion: The hexane and aqueous extracts of Phyllanthus amarus possess good tyrosinase inhibitory action when compared to the reference kojic acid. Also, it demonstrated high antioxidant potentials by its ability to scavenge oxygen radicals, reduce ferric ion and inhibit ABTS radical. Lower extract concentrations stimulated Sertoli cell proliferation, which might be due to phytoestrogenic activities of Phyllanthus amarus conferred by its active, components, such as phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin.


Phyllanthus amarus, tyrosinase inhibition, antioxidant, cytotoxicity, Sertoli cells, oxidative stress.


Oxidative Stress Research Centre, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville 7535, Medical Laboratory Programme, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Private Bag 13388 Windhoek, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ekiti State University, PMB 5363, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Department of Medical Biosciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Western Cape, Bellville, 7535, Oxidative Stress Research Centre, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville 7535

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