In vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity and the antioxidant properties of Aegle marmelos leaf extract: implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease




Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder clinically characterized by loss of memory and cognition. The effective therapeutic options for AD are limited and thus there is a demand for new drugs. Aegle marmelos (Linn.) (A. marmelos) leaves have been used in traditional medicine to promote intellect and enhance memory. In this study, we evaluated A. marmelos for its acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity and antioxidant property in vitro in the treatment of AD.


A crude methanol extract and four fractions (petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate and aqueous) were prepared from the leaves of A. marmelos. The preparations were assessed for AChE inhibitory activity by the Ellman method, and their antioxidant properties were assessed by several assays: reducing power, scavenging of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl free radical and hydroxyl radical, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of endogenous substances in A. marmelos were performed by the standard phytochemical methods.


Among the different extracts tested, the ethyl acetate fraction exhibited the highest inhibition of AChE activity. In the same way, ethyl acetate fraction showed the highest reducing activity and radical scavenging ability towards the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (half maximal inhibitory concentration = 3.84 μg/mL) and hydroxyl free radicals (half maximal inhibitory concentration = 5.68 μg/mL). The antiradical activity of the ethyl acetate fraction appeared to be similar to that of the reference standard butylated hydroxytoluene and catechin used in this study. In addition, the ethyl acetate fraction displayed higher inhibition of brain lipid peroxidation. Phytochemical screening of different extractives of A. marmelos showed the presence of phenols and flavonoids, alkaloid, saponin, glycoside, tannin and steroids. Quantitative analysis revealed higher contents of phenolics (58.79-mg gallic acid equivalent/g dried extract) and flavonoids (375.73-mg gallic acid equivalent/g dried extract) in the ethyl acetate fraction.


The results suggest that the ethyl acetate fraction of A. marmelos is a significant source of polyphenolic compounds with potential AChE inhibitory property and antioxidant activity and, thus, may be useful in the treatment of AD.