Inhibitory effect of the Pseudobrickellia brasiliensis (Spreng) R.M. King & H. Rob. aqueous extract on human lymphocyte proliferation and IFN-γ and TNF-α production in vitro.Braz J Med Biol Res 2017; 50(8):e5163BJ
Pseudobrickellia brasiliensis (Asteraceae) is a plant commonly known as arnica-do-campo and belongs to the native flora of the Brazilian Cerrado. The alcoholic extract of the plant has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent in folk medicine, but the biological mechanism of action has not been elucidated. The present study evaluated the composition of P. brasiliensis aqueous extract and its effects on pro-inflammatory cytokine production and lymphocyte proliferation. The extracts were prepared by sequential maceration of P. brasiliensis leaves in ethanol, ethyl acetate, and water. Extract cytotoxicity was evaluated by trypan blue exclusion assay, and apoptosis and necrosis were measured by staining with annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide. The ethanolic (ETA) and acetate (ACE) extracts showed cytotoxic effects. The aqueous extract (AQU) was not cytotoxic. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin and treated with AQU (100 μg/mL) showed reduced interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α expression. AQU also inhibited lymphocyte proliferative response after nonspecific stimulation with phytohemagglutinin. The aqueous extract was analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled with photodiode array detection and mass spectrometry. Quinic acid and its derivatives 5-caffeoylquinic acid and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid, as well as the flavonoids luteolin and luteolin dihexoside, were detected. All these compounds are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that P. brasiliensis aqueous extract can inhibit the pro-inflammatory cytokine production and proliferative response of lymphocytes. These effects may be related to the presence of chemical substances with anti-inflammatory actions previously reported in scientific literature.