, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 933-939
Date: 18 Feb 2010

Comparison of SYBR Green I-, PicoGreen-, and [3H]-hypoxanthine-based assays for in vitro antimalarial screening of plants from Nigerian ethnomedicine

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The standard method for in vitro antimalarial drug screening is based on the isotopic assay which is expensive and utilizes radioactive materials with limited availability, safety, and disposal problems in developing countries. The use of non-radioactive DNA stains SYBR Green I (SG) and PICO green® (PG) for antimalarial screening had been reported. However, the use of the two DNA stains for antimalarial screening of medicinal plants has not been compared. Thus, this study compared SG, PG with the [3H]-hypoxanthine (HP) incorporation assays for in vitro antimalarial screening of medicinal plants. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values obtained using the three methods for antimalarial activity of medicinal plants and standard antimalarial drugs were similar. Data generated from this study suggests that the non-radioactive microflourimetric assay is sufficiently sensitive to reproducibly identify plant extracts with antimalarial activity from those lacking activity. The HP-based assay exhibited the most robust signal-to-noise ratio of 100, compared with signal-to-noise ratios of 7 for SG and 8 for PG. The SG-based assay is less expensive than the PG- and HP-based assays. SG appears to be a cost-effective alternative for antimalarial drug screening and a viable technique that may facilitate antimalarial drug discovery process especially in developing countries.