Acta Pharm. 68 (2018) 425-439


full paper

Original research paper


Acalypha wilkesiana Java white: Identification of some bioactive compounds by GC-MS and their effects on key enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes


1 Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville Campus), Durban 4000, South Africa

2 School of Chemistry and Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville Campus), Durban 4000, South Africa

Accepted June 21, 2018

Published August 29, 2018


In this study, we identified bioactive compounds from the ethanolic extracts of the leaves, stem bark and root bark of Acalypha wilkesiana through GC-MS analysis and investigated the effects of these extracts on some of the enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes. Plant parts were extracted sequentially with ethyl acetate, ethanol and water. GC-MS analysis revealed the presence of long-chain alkyl acids, esters, ketones and alcohols including phytol and phytol acetate along with some secondary metabolites such as xanthone, vitamin E and various types of sterols including stigmasterol, campesterol and sitosterol. Ethanolic extracts of all the parts showed a dose-dependent inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase activity. The extracts also demonstrated anti-lipase activity. The ethanolic extract of root bark showed the highest inhibition of enzymes compared to other extracts. The EC50 values (concentrations for 50 % inhibition) of α-glucosidase, α-amylase and lipase inhibition were 35.75 1.95, 6.25 1.05 and 101.33 5.21 g mL1, resp. The study suggests that A. wilkesiana ethanolic extracts have the ability to inhibit the activity of enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes. Further studies are needed to confirm the responsible bioactive compounds in this regard.


Keywords: Acalypha wilkesiana, α-glucosidase, α-amylase, lipase, type 2 diabetes, ethanolic extract