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Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(2):1598-611. doi: 10.3390/ijms13021598. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of octacosanol from the leaves of Sabicea grisea var. grisea in mice.

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  • 1Instituto de Química e Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió/AL 57072-970, Brazil; E-Mails: (A.M.O.); (L.M.C.).


Sabicea species are used in the Amazon for treatment of fever and malaria, which suggests that its chemical constituents may have some effect on pain and inflammation. Phytochemical analysis of the hexane fraction obtained from the crude ethanol extract from Sabicea grisea var. grisea Cham. & Schltdl (Rubiaceae), an endemic plant in Brazil, resulted in the isolation of octacosanol. This study investigated the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of the octacosanol in different experimental models. The crude ethanolic extract and hexane fraction obtained from the leaves of S. grisea produced an inhibition of acetic acid-induced pain. Moreover, octacosanol isolated from the hexane fraction produced a significant inhibition of pain response elicited by acetic acid. Pre-treatment with yohimbine, an alpha 2-adrenergic receptor antagonist, notably reversed the antinociceptive activity induced by octacosanol in the abdominal constriction test. Furthermore, mice treated with octacosanol did not exhibit any behavioral alteration during the hot plate and rota-rod tests, indicating non-participation of the supraspinal components in the modulation of pain by octacosanol with no motor abnormality. In the formalin test, octacosanol did not inhibit the licking time in first phase (neurogenic pain), but significantly inhibited the licking time in second phase (inflammatory pain) of mice. The anti-inflammatory effect of octacosanol was evaluated using carrageenan-induced pleurisy. The octacosanol significantly reduced the total leukocyte count and neutrophils influx, as well as TNF-α levels in the carrageenan-induced pleurisy. This study revealed that the mechanism responsible for the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of the octacosanol appears to be partly associated with an inhibition of alpha 2-adrenergic transmission and an inhibition of pathways dependent on pro-inflammatory cytokines. Finally, these results demonstrated that the octacosanol from the leaves of S. grisea possesses antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities, which could be of relevance for the pharmacological control of pain and inflammatory processes.


Sabicea grisea; TNF-α; anti-inflammatory; antinociception; octacosanol

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