Immunostimulant and Pharmacological Activities, of Cucurbita Maxima Seeds on Humoral and Cellular Immunity Cells and their Functions

Soukaina Laaraj1, Ibtissam Ouahidi2, Nada Al Moudani1, Mustapha Allali2, Lotfi Aarab1, *
1 Laboratory of Microbial Biotechnology and Bioactive Molecules (LM2BM), Faculty of Sciences and Techniques of Fez, Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University Morocco
2 High Institute of Nursing and Technical Health (ISPITS). Ministry of Health, Fez, Morocco

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© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Sciences & Techniques, Laboratory of Microbial Biotechnology & Bioactive Molecules, Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University, PO Box 2202, Road of Immouzer, Fez, Morocco; E-mail:



Natural resources are key for discovering medicinal compounds. Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the immunomodulatory activities of Cucurbita maxima (pumpkin) seeds, a component of Moroccan folk medicine believed to enhance immunity.


We produced three distinct extracts employing ethanol, ethyl acetate, and water as solvents. The immunomodulatory effects of these extracts were assessed on rabbit immune cell proliferation and their functions, including IgG production, cytotoxicity, and phagocytosis.


The study findings reveal a significant stimulation in thymocyte proliferation, yielding a remarkable 285.7% response, along with a 146.5% increase in cytotoxicity (MLR) in response to the aqueous extract. Furthermore, there was a notable enhancement in complement activity by 119.9% in response to the aqueous extract, implying the potential of C. maxima to modulate both humoral and cellular immunity. Additionally, both EtOAc and aqueous extracts led to a reduction in macrophage phagocytic function. The assessment of the antibacterial properties of ethanol extract showed greater effectiveness against Bacillus, E. Coli, and Staphylococcus. In a separate analysis, antioxidant activity was gauged through DPPH, FRAP, and ABTS methods. These tests exhibited robust antioxidative effects across all extracts, characterized by higher levels of phenolic and flavonoid content. The FT-IR spectrum indicated the presence of compounds such as triglycerides, sterol esters, phospholipids, and unsaturated fatty acids in the extracts.


Collectively, these outcomes prompt the consideration of utilizing the aqueous extract of Cucurbita maxima to strengthen humoral and cellular immunity, as well as lymphocyte toxicity, in various ailments.

Keywords: Cucurbita maxima, Cell proliferation, IgG production, Immunostimulation, Phagocytosis, Splenocytes, Antioxidant, FT-IR spectrum.