Cryptolepine hydrochloride: A potent antimycobacterial alkaloid derived from Cryptolepis sanguinolenta
Colin W. Wright
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The activity of cryptolepine hydrochloride, a salt of the main indoloquinoline alkaloid from the West African medicinal plant Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, was assessed against the fast growing mycobacterial species Mycobacterium fortuitum, which has recently been shown to be of use in the evaluation of antitubercular drugs. The low minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of this compound (16 μg/mL) prompted further evaluation against other fast growing mycobacteria namely, M. phlei, M. aurum, M. smegmatis, M. bovis BCG and M. abcessus and the MICs ranged over 2-32 μg/mL for these species. The strong activity of this agent, the need for new antibiotics with activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, coupled with the ethnobotanical use of C. sanguinolenta extracts to treat infections, highlight the potential of the cryptolepine template for development of antimycobacterial agents. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.