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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 972853, 6 pages
Research Article

In Vitro and In Vivo Antimalarial Activity of Ficus thonningii Blume (Moraceae) and Lophira alata Banks (Ochnaceae), Identified from the Ethnomedicine of the Nigerian Middle Belt

1Cellular Parasitology Programme, Cell Biology and Genetics Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
2Malaria Research Laboratories, Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
3Department of Public and Allied Health, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
4Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
5Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
6University of Ibadan Research Foundation, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Received 4 February 2014; Accepted 30 April 2014; Published 14 May 2014

Academic Editor: Dave Chadee

Copyright © 2014 M. O. Falade 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.


Drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum requires that new drugs must be developed. Plants are a potential source for drug discovery and development. Two plants that used to treat febrile illnesses in Nigeria were tested for in vitro and in vivo antimalarial activity and cytotoxicity in cancer cell lines. Methanol, hexane, and ethyl acetate leaf extracts of Ficus thonningii and Lophira alata were active in in vitro assays against P. falciparum NF54 (sensitive) and K1 (multiresistant) strains. Hexane extracts of F. thonningii and L. alata were the most effective extracts in in vitro assays with IC50 of g/mL and g/mL for NF54 and g/mL and g/mL for K1 strain. All extracts were nontoxic in cytotoxicity assays against KB human cell line with IC50 of over 20  g/mL, demonstrating selectivity against P. falciparum. In vivo analysis shows that hexane extracts of both plants reduced parasitaemia. At the maximum dose tested, L. alata had a 74.4% reduction of parasitaemia while F. thonningii had a reduction of 84.5%, both extracts prolonged animal survival in mice infected with P. berghei NK65 when compared with vehicle treated controls. The antiplasmodial activity observed justifies the use of both plants in treating febrile conditions.