Evaluation of the anti-proliferative effect, antioxidant and phytochemical constituents of Ficus pumila Linn.

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October, 2017
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Plants, such as Ficus pumila, have been indispensable in treating and managing diverse forms of diseases including cancer. About 80% of the people living in developing countries depend on medicinal plants for their healthcare needs based on the knowledge of traditional use of medicinal plants. This study was aimed at evaluating the heavy metal content of the raw powder and extract of the plant, the phytochemical constituents, antioxidant effect by the use of DPPH assay, the total phenolic content using Folin Ciocalteu assay and the cytotoxic effect using the MTT Assay of Ficus pumila ethanolic extract, methanolic and hydro fractions on liver cancer cells (HepG2), Leukemic cell (Jurkat) and normal liver cells (Chang). FTIR analysis was also done to determine the functional groups of the active components of the F. pumila fractions. The structure of the compound of the most active fraction was determined using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). Alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, cardiac glycoside, saponins and tannins were present in the ethanolic extract of F. pumila. The heavy metal analysis revealed the presence of Iron in both the raw powder (1.97 ± 0.11 mg/l) and extract (0.92 ± 0.02 mg/L). Zinc was also detected in both the raw powder (1.19 ± 0.00 mg/l) and extract (0.6595 ± 0.02 mg/l). These levels were below the permissible level set by FAO/WHO. The results from the FTIR revealed the presence of alkynes, alkyl halides, aromatics and aliphatic amines common to all fractions and compounds such as Phenol, 2,4 –bis (1,1-Dimethylethyl) and Dodecane, 2,6, 10-trimethyl were detected in the samples by GC-MS. The DPPH assay also showed that all the fractions scavenged DPPH free radical in a dose dependent manner as compared to the positive control (Ascorbic acid). The hydro fraction had the strongest DPPH scavenging activity (EC50 =0.09 ± 0.00 mg/ml). Phenolic compounds were present in all the fractions with the hydro fraction having the highest level (16950 ± 331.95 mg GAE/100g). The MTT assay revealed that all the samples were cytotoxic against the cancer cell lines but only methanolic fraction was selective towards the Jurkat cell lines (Selectivity Index = 2.822) with IC50 value of 248.1 µg/ml. The most active fraction in terms of the antioxidant assay was the hydro fraction and with respect to the cytotoxicity assay was the methanolic fraction. This increase the prospect that this plant contains compound(s) which could serve as leads for novel anticancer drugs.  
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy (Biochemistry College of of Science.