In Silico Pharmacology

, 7:3 | Cite as

Computational insight to putative anti-acetylcholinesterase activity of Commiphora myrrha (Nees), Engler, Burseraceae: a lessen of archaeopharmacology from Mesopotamian Medicine I

  • Baydaa Abed Hussein
  • Isaac KarimiEmail author
  • Namdar Yousofvand
Original Research


Commiphora spp., Burseraceae family and their resinous matter, myrrh, are used in Mesopotamian medicine as fragrance or antiinsectant. Based on in vitro, leaves, bark, and resin methyl alcohol extract of C. myrrha showed similar inhibitory effects of 17.00, 26.00, and 29.33% for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) as compared to eserine, respectively. The ADMET properties and putative anticholinesterase activity of phytochemicals of myrrh were computationally predicted using in silico tools. Phytochemicals of C. myrrha had acceptable binding affinity (BA) towards principal sites of AChE ranging from − 5.8 (m-cresol) to − 10.5 (abietic acid) kcal/mol. In this regard, all terpenoid compounds (25 out of 28) of myrrh were dual inhibitors since they hydrophobically interacted with both catalytic triad and peripheral anionic site (PAS) of AChE while alpha-terpineol, elemol, and eugenol employed hydrogen bonds with AChE. Cuscohygrine as a pyrrolidine alkaloid has been docked with AChE through hydrogen bonds with PAS and through hydrophobic interactions with catalytic triad thereby we initially proposed it as dual inhibitor of AChE. M-cresol as a methylphenol has been loosely docked with AChE via hydrogen bond and would be a hit molecule for further drug synthesis. This study not only confirmed archaeopharmacological applications of myrrh as antiinsectant or nootropics but also offered an array of terpenoid compounds, cuscohygrine, and m-cresol as a good starting point for hit-to-lead-to-drug optimization phase in synthesis of phyto-nootropics and ecofriendly insecticides.


Myrrh Acetylcholinesterase Nootropics Insecticides Terpenes Sesquiterpenes Cuscohygrine 



This paper emanates from MSc thesis of first author submitted to Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University 67149-67346, Kermanshah, Iran. This study was supported by intramural fund and first and second authors paid the fee of in silico investigation.

Author contributions

BAH and NY gathered data of Mesopotamian Medicine, authenticated plants, and carried out the experiments. BAH and IK analyzed data and carried out the molecular docking work. BAH and IK prepared the manuscript while all authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceRazi UniversityKermanshahIran

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