Anthelmintic activity of European fern extracts against Haemonchus contortus

Pavičić A., Zajíčková M., Šadibolová M., Svobodová G., Matoušková P., Szotáková B., Langhansová L., Maršík P., Skálová L.

Keywords: Natural anthelmintics, medicinal plants, nematodes, ATP-assay, Athyrium, Dryopteris
Abstract: Most drugs used in the treatment of helminthiasis in humans and animals have lost their efcacy due to the development of drug-resistance in helminths. Moreover, since anthelmintics, like many pharmaceuticals, are now recognized as hazardous contaminants of the environment, returning to medicinal plants and their products represents an environmentally friendly way to treat helminthiasis. The goal of the present study was to test the anthelminthic activity of methanol extracts of eight selected European ferns from the genera Dryopteris, Athyrium and Blechnum against the nematode Haemonchus contortus, a widespread parasite of small ruminants. Eggs and adults of H. contortus drug-susceptible strain ISE and drug-resistant strain WR were isolated from experimentally infected sheep. The efcacy of fern extracts was assayed using egg hatch test and adults viability test based on ATP-level measurement. Among the ferns tested, only Dryopteris aemula extract (0.2 mg/mL) inhibited eggs hatching by 25% in comparison to control. Athyrium distentifolium, Dryopteris aemula and Dryopteris cambrensis were efective against H. contortus adults. In concentration 0.1 mg/mL, A. distentifolium, D. aemula, D. cambrensis signifcantly decreased the viability of females from ISE and WR strains to 36.2%, 51.9%, 32.9% and to 35.3%, 27.0%, 23.3%, respectively in comparison to untreated controls. None of the extracts exhibited toxicity in precise cut slices from ovine liver. Polyphenol’s analysis identifed quercetin, kaempferol, luteolin, 3-hydroxybenzoic acid, cafeic acid, coumaric acid and protocatechuic acid as the major components of these anthelmintically active ferns.
DOI: 10.1186/s13567-023-01192-8
IEB authors: Lenka Langhansová, Petr Maršík, Antonio Pavicic