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J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Aug 22;100(1-2):145-52. Epub 2005 Apr 20.

Antihemorrhagic, antinucleolytic and other antiophidian properties of the aqueous extract from Pentaclethra macroloba.

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Departamento de Análises Clínicas, Toxicológicas e Bromatológicas, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, FCFRP/USP, Brazil.


Several Brazilian plants have been utilized in folk medicine as active agents against various effects induced by snake venoms. The inhabitants of the Amazon region use, among others, the macerated bark of a plant popularly named "Pracaxi" (Pentaclethra macroloba Willd) to combat these effects. We report now the antihemorrhagic properties against snake venoms of the aqueous extract of Pentaclethra macroloba (EPema). EPema exhibited full inhibition of hemorrhagic and nucleolytic activities induced by several snake venoms. Additionally, partial inhibition of myotoxic, lethal, phospholipase and edema activities of snake venoms and its isolated PLA(2)s by EPema is reported. In vivo tests showed that EPema is able to totally inhibit a Bothrops jararacussu metalloprotease (BjussuMP-I) induced hemorrhage, suggesting interaction of the extract compounds with this high molecular weight protein. The extract did induce neither hemorrhage nor death in mice when administered alone by i.m. route. When administered separately by i.m. route, the extract did not induce death in mice at 12.5--300 mg/kg doses. Other assays demonstrated that EPema was unable to inhibit fibrinogenolytic and coagulant activities of Bothrops atrox venom. Although the mechanism of action of EPema is still unknown, the finding that no visible change was detected in the electrophoretic pattern of snake venom after incubation with the extract excludes proteolytic degradation as a potential mechanism. The search for new inhibitors of venom metalloproteases and DNAases are a relevant task. Investigation of snake venom inhibitors can provide useful tools for the elucidation of the action mechanisms of purified toxins. Furthermore, these inhibitors can be used as molecular models for development of new therapeutical agents in the treatment of ophidian accidents.

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