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Phytomedicine. 2014 Apr 15;21(5):586-94. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2013.10.030. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Vasodilation and radical-scavenging activity of imperatorin and selected coumarinic and flavonoid compounds from genus Casimiroa.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Largo E. Meneghetti 2, 35131 Padova, Italy.
Instituto de Química, Univesidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, 04510 D.F., Mexico.
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Largo E. Meneghetti 2, 35131 Padova, Italy. Electronic address:


Hypertension is a very widespread condition which is not strictly considered as an illness but if not countered, progressively causes damage to all tissues and loss in their functionality. For this reason the find of new antihypertensive agents is prominent and medicinal plants and their derivatives are valuable for the purpose. The genus Casimiroa (Rutaceae) includes plants from Central America and Mexico; among these, Casimiroa edulis Llave et Lex. and Casimiroa pubescens Ramirez are the most relevant species, even for their medicinal uses. The decoction of leaves and seeds is traditionally taken as a tea mainly to lower blood pressure. The object of this research was the study of vascular activity of coumarinic and flavonoid compounds isolated from seeds of Casimiroa spp. in comparison with Casimiroa edulis and Casimiroa pubescens extracts. The phenolic compounds isolated from Casimiroa were herniarin (Her), imperatorin (Imp), 8-geranyloxypsoralen (GOP) and 5,6,2',3',4'-pentamethoxyflavone (PMF). All these compounds induced vasorelaxation on rat arterial tissues although with different effectiveness. To study the cellular mechanisms of the vasorelaxation exhibited by imperatorin, we used selective inhibitors of different receptors and enzymes, such as atropine, pyrilamine, nifedipine, L-NAME and DETC. In a further step of this research, we evaluated the radical-scavenging activity of Casimiroa extracts and isolated compounds by means of DPPH assay. In general, we observed that the scavenging activities increased in a concentration-dependent manner for all substances. The phenolic compounds highlight a synergism of vasodilation and antioxidant activity which may be very useful in the management of cardiovascular diseases. Among the evaluated compounds, imperatorin shows a significant vasorelaxant activity even higher than acetylcholine and similar to nitrite, and also useful antiradical capabilities. All these properties suggest its possible role against hypertension and vasculopathies, even if in vivo studies are needed to determine the actual applications.


Casimiroa seed extracts; Coumarins; Flavones; Imperatorin; Radical-scavenging activity; Vasodilation

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