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Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00878

An insight on the modulatory effects and mechanisms of action of Phyllanthus species and their bioactive metabolites on the immune system

 Ibrahim Jantan1*,  Md. Areeful Haque1, Menaga Ilangkovan2 and Laiba Arshad3, 4
  • 1Taylor's University, Malaysia
  • 2Fairview International School (FIS), Malaysia
  • 3National University of Malaysia, Malaysia
  • 4Drug and Herbal Research Centre, Faculty of Pharmacy, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia

Phyllanthus species (family; Euphorbiaceae) have been one of the intensively studied plants for their immunomodulating effects due to their wide-ranging uses to treat immune-related diseases in indigenous medicine, and their ethnopharmacological usages are primarily with limited or lack of scientific basis. This review focuses on the significance of Phyllanthus species and their bioactive metabolites particularly phyllanthin, hypophyllanthin, niranthin, corilagin, geraniin, catechin, quercetin, gallic acid and ellagic acid in the regulation of both innate and adaptive arms of immune system through various mechanisms and their possible therapeutic benefits for treatment of immune related diseases. We have compiled all significant findings published in the literature and critically analyzed the data to provide perspectives and directions for future research for the plants as a prospective source of novel immunomodulators. Various Phyllanthus species particularly, P. amarus, P. emblica, P. niruri, and P. urinaria have been found to possess significant immunomodulatory effects. However, the possible challenges encountered by the application of extracts of various Phyllanthus species and their bioactive compounds as immunomodulators need to be addressed. Most of the studies were based on crude extracts of the plant. The compounds contributing to the bioactivities have not been properly identified, and mechanistic studies to understand the immunomodulatory effects of the plants are limited by many considerations with regard to design, conduct, and interpretation. Extensive experimental and preclinical studies on immunomodulating potential of Phyllanthus species should be carried out to provide sufficient data to prove that their traditional uses are inherently effective and safe, which will allow clinical trials to be pursued for their further development as therapeutic agents to treat immune-related disorders.

Keywords: Phyllanthus species, Ethnomedicine, phytochemicals, Immunosuppressive effects, immunomodulators

Received: 18 Sep 2018; Accepted: 10 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Anna K. Kiss, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland

Reviewed by:

Wentzel C. Gelderblom, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Prof. Annamalai Muthusamy, School of Life Sciences, Manipal University, India  

Copyright: © 2019 Jantan, Haque, Ilangkovan and Arshad. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Ibrahim Jantan, Taylor's University, Subang Jaya, 47500, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia, profibj@gmail.com