The essential oil from Ailanthus altissima stems, an aromatic and medicinal plant, is widely used in the Chinese folk medicine. The essential oil, obtained by hydrodistillation, was fractionated using a silica gel column, yielding six different fractions. The chemical compositions of the volatile oil together with its fractions were investigated using Gas chromatography/Flame Ionization Detector (GC/FID) and Gas chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). The stems EO was a complex mixture of fifty-six compounds, mainly composed by sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (77.9%), among which γ-muurolene (41.1%), β-caryophyllene (23.5%) and α-humulene (6.0%) were the most represented. The comparison of this composition (may 2015) of the essential oil of the same plant harvested in the same locality and at the same times of the year (May 2012), showed significant differences that may be explained by the variation of the climatic conditions. The essential oil and its fractions were screened for the first time for their in vitro anti-5-lipoxygenase, anti-acetylcholinesterase and xanthine oxidase inhibitory properties. Results indicated that fraction 1 and fraction 6 displayed potent anti-5-lipoxygenase activity, with an inhibition percentage of 57.95 ± 2.65 and 60.09 ± 1.09%, respectively. These findings suggest that the essential oil of A. altissima stems and its active fractions might have a potential therapeutic application for the treatment of inflammatory diseases after confirmation of this activity by in vivo studies and clinical trials.
S. Souiei, A. El Ayeb-Zakhama, M.A. Belkacem, G. Flamini, H. Ben Jannet
Ailanthus altissima, stems essential oil, fractionation, chemical variability, biological activities