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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 5063540, 9 pages
Research Article

Ultrastructural Changes and Death of Leishmania infantum Promastigotes Induced by Morinda citrifolia Linn. Fruit (Noni) Juice Treatment

1Laboratório de Imunomodulação e Protozoologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Departamento de Patologia, Universidade Estadual do Maranhão, 65055-310 São Luís, MA, Brazil
3Unidade de Microscopia Eletrônica, Instituto Adolf Lutz, 01246-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
4Laboratório de Plantas Medicinais e Derivados, Farmanguinhos, Fiocruz, 21041-250 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 22 January 2016; Accepted 23 March 2016

Academic Editor: Kang-Ju Kim

Copyright © 2016 Fernando Almeida-Souza 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.


The search for new treatments against leishmaniasis has increased due to high frequency of drug resistance registered in endemics areas, side effects, and complications caused by coinfection with HIV. Morinda citrifolia Linn., commonly known as Noni, has a rich chemical composition and various therapeutic effects have been described in the literature. Studies have shown the leishmanicidal activity of M. citrifolia; however, its action on the parasite has not yet been elucidated. In this work, we analyzed leishmanicidal activity and ultrastructural changes in Leishmania infantum promastigotes caused by M. citrifolia fruit juice treatment. M. citrifolia fruit extract showed a yield of 6.31% and high performance liquid chromatography identified phenolic and aromatic compounds as the major constituents. IC50 values were 260.5 µg/mL for promastigotes and 201.3 µg/mL for intracellular amastigotes of L. infantum treated with M. citrifolia. Cytotoxicity assay with J774.G8 macrophages showed that M. citrifolia fruit juice was not toxic up to 2 mg/mL. Transmission electron microscopy showed cytoplasmic vacuolization, lipid inclusion, increased exocytosis activity, and autophagosome-like vesicles in L. infantum promastigotes treated with M. citrifolia fruit juice. M. citrifolia fruit juice was active against L. infantum in the in vitro model used here causing ultrastructural changes and has a future potential for treatment against leishmaniasis.