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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2002 Aug;35(8):927-30.

Toxicity to sea urchin egg development of the quinone fraction obtained from Auxemma oncocalyx.

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  • 1Departamento de Fisiologia e Farmacologia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, CE, Brasil.


Auxemma oncocalyx Taub. belongs to the Boraginaceae family and is native to the Brazilian northeast where it is known as "pau-branco". We investigated the ability of the water soluble fraction isolated from the heartwood of A. oncocalyx to inhibit sea urchin egg development. This fraction contains about 80% oncocalyxone A (quinone fraction), a compound known to possess strong cytotoxic and antitumor activities. In fact, the quinone fraction inhibited cleavage in a dose-dependent manner [IC50 of 18.4 (12.4-27.2) microg/ml, N = 6], and destroyed the embryos in the blastula stage [IC50 of 16.2 (13.7-19.2) microg/ml, N = 6]. We suggest that this activity is due to the presence of oncocalyxone A. In fact, these quinones present in A. oncocalyx extract have strong toxicity related to their antimitotic activity.

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