Activity of compounds from temperate propolis against Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania mexicana

Adullah Alotaibi, Godwin U. Ebiloma, Roderick Williams, Ibrahim A. Alfayez, Manal J. Natto, Sameah Alenezi , Weam Siheri, Malik AlQarni , John O. Igoli, James Fearnley, Harry P. de Koning*, David G. Watson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Ethanolic extracts of samples of temperate zone propolis, four from the UK and one from Poland, were tested against three Trypanosoma brucei strains and displayed EC 50 values < 20 µg/mL. The extracts were fractionated, from which 12 compounds and one two-component mixture were isolated, and characterized by NMR and high-resolution mass spectrometry, as 3-acetoxypinobanksin, tectochrysin, kaempferol, pinocembrin, 4 -methoxykaempferol, galangin, chrysin, apigenin, pinos-trobin, cinnamic acid, coumaric acid, cinnamyl ester/coumaric acid benzyl ester (mixture), 4 ,7-dimethoxykaempferol, and naringenin 4 ,7-dimethyl ether. The isolated compounds were tested against drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains of T. brucei and Leishmania mexicana, with the highest activities ≤ 15 µM. The most active compounds against T. brucei were naringenin 4 ,7 dimethyl ether and 4 methoxy kaempferol with activity of 15–20 µM against the three T. brucei strains. The most active compounds against L. mexicana were 4 ,7-dimethoxykaempferol and the coumaric acid ester mixture, with EC 50 values of 12.9 ± 3.7 µM and 13.1 ± 1.0 µM. No loss of activity was found with the diamidine-and arsenical-resistant or phenanthridine-resistant T. brucei strains, or the miltefosine-resistant L. mexicana strain; no clear structure activity relationship was observed for the isolated compounds. Temperate propolis yields multiple compounds with anti-kinetoplastid activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3912
Number of pages16
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2021


  • temperate propolis
  • flavonoids
  • isolated compounds
  • Trypanosoma brucei
  • Leishmania mexicana


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