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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5620693, 11 pages
Research Article

Acyclic Sesquiterpenes from the Fruit Pericarp of Sapindus saponaria Induce Ultrastructural Alterations and Cell Death in Leishmania amazonensis

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Avenida Colombo 5790, Jd. Universitário, Maringá, PR, Brazil
2Laboratório de Inovação Tecnológica no Desenvolvimento de Fármacos e Cosméticos, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Avenida Colombo 5790, Jd. Universitário, Maringá, PR, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Izabel Cristina Piloto Ferreira

Received 5 March 2017; Revised 29 June 2017; Accepted 19 July 2017; Published 22 August 2017

Academic Editor: Juntra Karbwang

Copyright © 2017 Amanda Louzano Moreira 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.


Previous studies reported antiprotozoal activities of Sapindus saponaria L. The aim of this work was the evaluation of antileishmanial activity and mechanism of action of extract and fractions of S. saponaria L. Hydroethanolic extract (EHA) obtained from fruit pericarps was fractionated using solid-phase extraction in a reversed phase, resulting in fractions enriched with saponins (SAP fraction) and acyclic sesquiterpene oligoglycosides (OGSA fraction). The activities of EHA, SAP, and OGSA were evaluated by antiproliferative assays with promastigote and intracellular amastigote forms. Cytotoxicity on macrophages and hemolytic activity were also analyzed. Morphological and ultrastructural changes in Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes were evaluated by electron microscopy. Flow cytometry was used to investigate mitochondrial dysfunction and phosphatidylserine exposure. OGSA was more selective for parasites than mammalian J774A1 macrophage cells, with selectivity indices of 3.79 and 7.35, respectively. Our results showed that only the OGSA fraction did not present hemolytic activity at its IC50 for promastigote growth. Electron microscopy revealed changes in parasite flagellum, cell body shape, and organelle size, mainly mitochondria. Flow cytometry analysis indicated mitochondrial membrane and cell membrane dysfunction. OGSA showed antileishmanial activity, resulting in several changes to protozoa cells, including mitochondrial depolarization and early phosphatidylserine exposure, suggesting a possible apoptotic induction.