Fouquieria splendens: A source of phenolic compounds with antioxidant and antiproliferative potential

Julio César López-Romero*, Heriberto Torres-Moreno, Karen Lillian Rodríguez-Martínez, Viviana Ramírez-Audelo, Max Vidal-Gutiérrez, Javier Hernández, Ramón Enrique Robles-Zepeda, Jesús Fernando Ayala-Zavala, Humberto González-Ríos, Martín Valenzuela-Melendres, Mónica Alejandra Villegas-Ochoa, Norma Julieta Salazar-López, Gustavo Adolfo González-Aguilar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Fouquieria splendens commonly named "ocotillo", is a native plant from Mexico, used in folk medicine against different illnesses. However, scientific evidence about its biological activities is limited. The objective of this study was to determine phenolic composition, antioxidant and antiproliferative effect of F. splendens. Methods Amethanolic extract from F. splendens leaves extract (F. splendens extract) was obtained and fractioned by liquid-liquid partition, obtaining hexane, ethyl acetate, and residual fractions. Phenolic compounds were determined by the Folin Ciocalteu method, and the phenolic profile was assessed by UPLC-DAD. Antioxidant activity was determined by DPPH, TEAC, ORAC, and FRAP assays. Antiproliferative activity was performed by MTT assay against C33-A and HeLa cell lines. Results The ethyl acetate fraction exhibited the highest (p < 0.0001) amount of phenolic compounds (479.9 mg GAE/g) and the predominant compounds were gallic acid ( 25.949 mg/g), ellagic acid ( 17.439 mg/g), and kaempferol-3-β-glucoside ( 7.336 mg/g). Similarly, ethyl acetate fraction exhibited the highest (p < 0.0001) antioxidant potential (DPPH: 2430.1 µmol TE/g; TEAC: 60.4 µmol TE/g; ORAC: 4948.4 µmol TE/g; FRAP: 7803 µmol Fe(II)/g). An antiproliferative assay evidenced that the F. splendens extract was the most effective (p < 0.0002) to inhibit proliferation of cervical cancer cell lines, particularly HPV negative cells (C33-A IC50: 9.06 µg/mL; HeLa IC50: 74.7 µg/mL). Conclusion The results showed a promissory biological potential of F. splendens, associated with phenolic compounds, besides the first report on the identification of some phenolic compounds in this plant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102084
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Salomon Hernández Gutiérrez from the School of Medicine, Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, for providing the cell line C33-A. Also, we thank Dr. Jose Angel Villareal Quintana from the Universidad Autonóma Agraria Antonio Narro for the plant specimen identification. We thank Division de Ciencias e Ingenieria y el Departamento de Ciencias Quimico Biologicas y Agropecuarias de la Universidad de Sonora for supporting this research. All data generated or analyzed during this study is included in this manuscript and is available by previous request to the corresponding author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier GmbH


  • Bioactive compounds
  • Biological activities
  • Fouquieria splendens


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