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BACKGROUND: The use of plants in traditional medicine has been well documented, and hundreds of plant species and their extracts, are used in developing countries to treat numerous diseases despite the fact that only a small number are approved for therapeutic use by the FDA. However, the cytotoxic effects of these plants have not been studied in detail, nor have their molecular structures been identified.
AIM: This study was to investigate the cytotoxic effects of these medicinal plants using both MTT and Neutral red assays.
METHOD: The stem, leaf, bark and trunk extracts from each plant species were used to determine the cytotoxic effects of the plant species Hep G2 cells were exposed to extracts taken from plant species at concentrations of 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 μg/ml and the cytotoxic effects determined using both MTT and Neutral Red assays.
RESULTS: Using both MTT and Neutral Red assays, the cytotoxicity of each plant species was determined. It was found that extracts of F. ovata incubated on cells resulted in no cytotoxic effect, but for cells treated with all other extracts of the plant species, cytotoxic effects were observed in at least one concentration tested.
CONCLUSION: The results obtained for cytotoxicity assays indicated that F. ovata may be suitable for use as medicinal agent as the extract tested did not infer cytotoxicity. However, the other plant species tested during this study may not be suitable for use in medicine because of their potential cytotoxic effects.