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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 279726, 10 pages
Research Article

Eugenia uniflora L. Essential Oil as a Potential Anti-Leishmania Agent: Effects on Leishmania amazonensis and Possible Mechanisms of Action

1Medicinal Plants Research Center, Federal University of Piauí, 64049-550 Teresina, PI, Brazil
2Laboratory of Pharmacognosy II, Department of Pharmacy, Federal University of Maranhão, 65085-580 São Luís, MA, Brazil
3Postgraduate Program in Chemistry, Federal University of Pará, 66075-900 Belém, PA, Brazil

Received 13 October 2012; Revised 14 December 2012; Accepted 17 January 2013

Academic Editor: Liliana V. Muschietti

Copyright © 2013 Klinger Antonio da Franca Rodrigues et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Eugenia uniflora L. is a member of the Myrtaceae family and is commonly known as Brazilian cherry tree. In this study, we evaluated the chemical composition of Eugenia uniflora L. essential oil (EuEO) by using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and assessed its anti-Leishmania activity. We also explored the potential mechanisms of action and cytotoxicity of EuEO. Thirty-two compounds were identified, which constituted 92.65% of the total oil composition. The most abundant components were sesquiterpenes (91.92%), with curzerene (47.3%), γ-elemene (14.25%), and trans-β-elemenone (10.4%) being the major constituents. The bioactivity shown by EuEO against promastigotes (IC50, 3.04 μg·mL−1) and amastigotes (IC50, 1.92 μg·mL−1) suggested significant anti-Leishmania activity. In the cytotoxicity determination, EuEO was 20 times more toxic to amastigotes than to macrophages. Hemolytic activity was 63.22% at the highest concentration tested (400 μg·mL−1); however, there appeared to be no toxicity at 50 μg·mL−1. While the data show that EuEO activity is not mediated by nitric oxide production, they do suggest that macrophage activation may be involved in EuEO anti-Leishmania activity, as evidenced by increases in both the phagocytic capacity and the lysosomal activity. More studies are needed to determine in vivo activity as well as additional mechanisms of the anti-Leishmania activity.