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Life Sci. 2006 Feb 16;78(12):1287-92. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Effects of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract on macrophage activity.

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Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechny, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


The roots of Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) have been indicated for the treatment of several diseases and as an analgesic and antiinflamatory drug. Treatment of mice with 200 mg/kg of the powdered root of P. paniculata reduced the Ehrlich ascitic volume [Matsuzaki, P., Akisue, G., Salgado Oloris, S.C., Gorniak, S.L., Zaidan Dagli, M.L., 2003. Effect of Pffafia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) on the Ehrlich tumor on its ascitic form. Life Sciences, Dec 19; 74 (5), 573-579.]. One of the putative means to control the Ehrlich tumor growth is by increasing macrophage activity [Kleeb, S.R., Xavier, J.G., Frussa-Filho, R., Dagli, M.L.Z., 1997. Effect of haloperidol on the development of the solid Ehrlich tumor in mice. Life Sciences, 60 (4/5), 69-742.]. The aim of this study was to investigate experimentally the effects of the methanolic extract of P. paniculata roots on macrophage activity. Male mice received, by gavage, once a day, different doses (100, 250, or 500 mg/kg) of the methanolic extract of P. paniculata or filtered water, as control, for 10 days. Macrophage activity was evaluated through the phagocytosis index (PI), spreading index (SI), production of peroxide oxigen and nitric oxide. The peritoneal cells were activated with ip inoculation of Ehrlich ascitic cells, 24 h before the macrophage harvesting. The methanolic extract raised significantly the SI of mice from group of 500 mg/kg in comparison with the control group and group of 100 mg/kg. This raise of SI possibly induced the higher phagocytic activity observed in the experimental situation. Increased macrophage activity may be one of the effects contributing to inhibition of the Ehrlich ascitic tumor growth in mice.

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