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Genetic variation, biochemical contents and wound healing activity of Plantago major

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Keywords
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Genetics And Breeding
  • Other Medical Biotechnology

Abstract

Plantago major L. (greater plantain, common plantain) has been used as a wound healing remedy in different parts of the world for centuries. Different bioactive compounds have been proposed to contribute to the wound healing properties of this plant. The present study was undertaken to investigate the impact of some genetic and environmental factors on the wound healing activity of common plantain. Seeds of P. major were collected from five populations in different parts of Sweden, and were germinated and grown in a greenhouse. As expected for an inbreeding species, RAPD analyses demonstrated considerable between-population variation but very sparse within-population and within-subpopulation variation. Six major phenolic compounds were encountered in samples of P. major, four of which were identified for the first time in this thesis; PLMA 1–PLMA 4. Between-population and sub-population differences in the contents of these chemical compounds showed no correlation with RAPD-based estimates of genetic relatedness. The contents of these compounds differed greatly between different plant organs of P. major. The highest concentration of plantamajoside and PLMA 2 was found in leaves whereas the highest concentration of verbascoside was found in flower stalks and seeds. Contents were significantly higher in freeze-dried leaf samples compared to samples dried at higher temperatures. Both water and ethanol-based extracts of P. major leaves stimulated the cell proliferation and migration in an in vitro scratch assay, and also showed anti-inflammatory activity in an in vitro NF-kB assay with oral epithelial cell cultures. Similarly, these extracts stimulated wound healing activities in ex vivo tests using detached pig ears. Further breeding efforts aimed at developing P. major as a crop plant, and medicinal research aimed at elucidating and optimizing extracts with wound healing properties, are thus warranted.

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