Plants of the genus Eremurus have been used in Kurdish medicine since ancient times. Particularly, the “Eremurus roots” sold at the local market (presently known as Eremurus spp.) are used as both topical and oral remedies for treating inflammatory disorders. In the present paper, the root ethanolic extracts (EE) of Eremurus persicus and Eremurus spectabilis, the most common Eremurus species in the region, were prepared and their phytochemical profiles drawn with the aim of identifying the plant material sold at the local market. Comparison of the high performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet/photodiode-circular dichroism (HPLC-UV/PAD-CD) and HPLC-electrospray ionisation-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS) fingerprints of both species with that of Eremurus spp. showed that the main component of Eremurus spp. is E. spectabilis, with a minor presence of E. persicus. All EEs were then subjected to an exhaustive in vitro investigation of anti-inflammatory activity. The assay with cultured human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMC) activated by phytohaemagglutinin A revealed that E. persicus was more effective in inhibiting T-cell proliferation and in reducing the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) levels in vitro than E. spectabilis and Eremurus spp. Regarding the Eremurus spp. extract, its anti-inflammatory effect appeared to be intermediate compared to the other two extracts examined when considering both anti-proliferative and anti-TNF-α results and in accordance with the analytical results, thus validating the ethnomedical use of Eremurus roots in traditional Kurdish medicine. Moreover, results herein reported clearly showed the anti-inflammatory potential of E. persicus and its capacity to inhibit both in vitro hPBMC proliferation and cytokine secretion at non-toxic doses. E. persicus root ethanolic extract will undergo further investigations in the near future in order to identify the metabolites responsible for the activity.
Key words: Eremurus, Kurdish ethnomedicine, chromatographic profile, anti-inflammatory activity, TNF-α blocker.
DPPH, 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl; EE, ethanolic extract; FCR, Folin-Ciocalteau reagent; FRS, free radical scavenging; Hpbmc, human peripheral blood mononuclear cell; IL-6, interleukin-6; IFN-γ, interferon-gamma; PHA, phytohemagglutinin A; PVP, polyvinylpyrrolidone; TLC, thin layer chromatography; TNF-α, tumor necrosis factor alpha; TPC, total phenolics content.
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