BACKGROUND: Acne vulgaris is a chronic skin disorder leading to inflammation as a result of the production of
reactive oxygen species due to the active involvement of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) in the infection site of
the skin. The current study was designed to assess the potential of the leaf extract of Syzygium jambos L. (Alston)
and its compounds for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity against the pathogenic P. acnes.
METHODS: The broth dilution method was used to assess the antibacterial activity. The cytotoxicity investigation on
mouse melanocyte (B16-F10) and human leukemic monocyte lymphoma (U937) cells was done using sodium
3’-[1-(phenyl amino-carbonyl)-3,4-tetrazolium]-bis-[4-methoxy-6-nitrobenzene sulfonic acid hydrate (XTT) reagent.
The non-toxic concentrations of the samples was investigated for the suppression of cytokines interleukin 8 (IL 8)
and tumour necrosis factor (TNF α) by testing the supernatants in the co-culture of the human U937 cells and
heat killed P. acnes using enzyme immunoassay kits (ELISA). The statistical analysis was done using the Graph Pad
Prism 4 program.
RESULTS: Bioassay guided isolation of ethanol extract of the leaves of S. jambos led to the isolation of three known
compounds namely; squalene, an anacardic acid analogue and ursolic acid which are reported for the first time
from this plant. The ethanol extract of S. jambos and one of the isolated compound namely, anacardic acid
analogue were able to inhibit the growth of P. acnes with a noteworthy minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC)
value of 31.3 and 7.9 μg/ml, respectively. The ethanol extract and three commercially acquired compounds namely;
myricetin, myricitrin, gallic acid exhibited significant antioxidant activity with fifty percent inhibitory concentration
(IC50) ranging between 0.8-1.9 μg/ml which was comparable to that of vitamin C, the reference antioxidant agent.
The plant extract, compounds ursolic acid and myricitrin (commercially acquired) significantly inhibited the release
of inflammatory cytokines IL 8 and TNF α by suppressing them by 74 - 99%. TEM micrographs showed the lethal
effects of selected samples against P. acnes.
CONCLUSIONS: The interesting antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of S. jambos shown in the
present study warrant its further investigation in clinical studies for a possible alternative anti-acne agent.