Bioassay-guided isolation of an anti-ulcer diterpenoid from Croton reflexifolius: role of nitric oxide, prostaglandins and sulfhydryls.J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008 Jul; 60(7):931-6.JP
Croton reflexifolius H. B. K (Euphorbiaceae) is a very common medicinal plant in the Huastecan region of Mexico that, according to local folk medicine, is considered useful in the treatment of gastritis and gastric ulcer. We have aimed to test the validity of this practice by using the experimental model of an ethanol-induced gastric ulcer in male Wistar rats. The results showed that C. reflexifolius had gastroprotector activity, that the hexane extract had the highest protective activity (64.38+/-7.72%), and that polyalthic acid isolated from this extract was the main active gastroprotector agent. Rats treated orally with polyalthic acid showed a gastroprotective effect similar to that elicited by carbenoxolone. As with carbenoxolone, the effect elicited by polyalthic acid was attenuated by pretreatment with either N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (70 mgkg(-1), i.p.), a nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor, or N-ethylmaleimide (10 mgkg(-1), s.c.), a blocker of sulfhydryl groups. This suggested that the gastroprotective mechanism of this diterpenoid involved the participation of both NO and endogenous sulfhydryl groups. Contrary to carbenoxolone, the gastroprotective effect of polyalthic acid was not affected by the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis with indometacin (10 mgkg(-1), s. c.). In conclusion, Croton reflexifolius contains compounds with gastroprotector activity. Polyalthic acid, which was isolated from this plant, was the main compound with gastroprotector activity, having effectiveness similar to that found with the use of carbenoxolone. Whereas NO and sulfhydryl groups were involved in the mechanisms of gastroprotective action of polyalthic acid, prostaglandins were not.