An investigation of plants used in South Africa for the treatment of hypertension.
Duncan, Andrew Cameron.
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In most countries, as many as 15 to 25% of the adult population have raised blood pressure. People with hypertension, and even those with mild elevation of blood pressure, are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, whether or not the symptoms are present. The risk of serious cardiovascular disease varies greatly among individuals and is also determined by a variety of concomitant risk factors other than the level of blood pressure. Hypertension develops as a result of disturbances of the body's blood pressure regulating system. The biological activity of the renin-angiotensin systems results from a series of specific enzymatic cleavages leading to the generation of angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor. In the treatment of hypertension, inhibition of the angiotensin converting enzyme is established as one modern therapeutic principle. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors act by inhibiting the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II. The in vitro assay, developed by ELBL and WAGNER (1991) for the detection of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors in plant extracts was successfully established during this study. Plants used by traditional healers in South Africa for the treatment of high blood pressure were investigated for their antihypertensive properties, utilizing the established angiotensin converting enzyme assay. Twenty plants were investigated for their angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory activity. The highest inhibition (97%) was obtained by Adenopodia spicata leaves. A further seven plants exhibited an inhibition greater than 70% and five more over 50%. Plants exhibiting inhibition levels greater than 50% were further tested for the presence of tannins in order to eliminate possible false positives. The leaves of Tulbaghia violacea were chosen for bioassay-guided fractionation in an attempt to isolate the active compound(s). Serial extractions were made of ground Tulbaghia violacea leaves using polar to non-polar solvents to establish the solvent giving optimum extraction of the active compound(s). Distilled H2O was selected as the extractant and a bulk extract was performed on 0.7 kg ground leaves. The extracted residue was partitioned against butanol, fractionated using cation exchange resin chromatography, Sephadex ® LH-20 and high performance liquid chromatography. Fractions collected after each purification step were assayed using the angiotensin converting enzyme assay. Fractions exhibiting high levels of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition were selected for further purification. The active fraction from the final high performance liquid chromatography step used in this study requires further attention in order to purify and identify the active compound(s). The chromatographic and chemical properties of the compound(s) present in the isolated active fraction are discussed.
- Masters Degrees (Botany)