2009 Volume 26 Issue 2 Pages 61-67
The extracts of Chinese red ant Formica aquilonia were screened for cytotoxicity, antioxidation and anti-inflammatory properties, prolyl oligopeptidase (POP) inhibition, and the effect on the catecholamine secretion. Dried ants were successively extracted with hexane, ethyl acetate, aqueous acetone and distilled water. Both the hexane and ethyl acetate extracts exhibited a high level of POP inhibitory activity; ethyl acetate extract was also significantly cytotoxic against the rat liver cancer cells. In the assay with anti-inflammatory assay, the residue of hexane extract suppressed weakly COX-2 activity. Inhibition of the acetylcholine-dependent catecholamine secretion from the bovine adrenal chromaffin cells was most pronounced with the ethyl acetate extract. The aqueous acetone extract exhibited antioxidant activity in a diphenylpierylhydrazyl assay. These results indicate that F. aquilonia contains promising therapeutic agents.