Background: Pereskia aculeata and P. grandifolia are non-traditional Brazilian vegetables with high nutritional value used in traditional medicine. The antioxidant, anticholinesterase, molluscicidal, cytotoxic, and antiproliferative properties of hydroethanolic extracts of P. aculeata and P. grandifolia leaves (PAL, PGL) and fruits (PAF, PGF) are investigated in this study.
Methods: All extracts were prepared by maceration with ethanol 70%. Their antioxidant properties were assessed through DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, and β-carotene bleaching inhibition assays. A TLC bioautography method was employed to evaluate the inhibiting capacity of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. The molluscicidal activity was tested against the snail Biomphalaria glabrata, which serves as an intermediate host for Schistosoma mansoni. The cytotoxic activity was assessed by an Artemia salina lethality test and the antiproliferative properties against seven human carcinoma cell lines.
Results: Compounds with anticholinesterase activity were found in all extracts. Polar compounds present in PAF and PGL extracts were the most active (IC50 < 25 μg of dry mass) and had an adequate inhibition capacity of the AChE. PGF and PGL were classified as moderate (LC50 = 19.2 μg/ml) and modest molluscicidal agents (LC50 = 66.6 μg/ml), respectively. All extracts exhibited selective antiproliferative activity against human chronic myeloid leukemia cell lines (K562). PAL, PGL, and PGF presented potent antiproliferative activity (TGI ≤ 5 μg/ml).
Conclusion: Both species exhibited anticholinesterase, cytotoxic and antiproliferative properties. This research supports the potential of these species as sustainable sources of nutraceutical compounds.