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Free Radic Res. 1997 May;26(5):469-78.

Antioxidant activities of some extracts of Thymus zygis.

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Laboratório de Bioquímica, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.


The antioxidant activities of methanol and ethyl ether extracts obtained from Thymus zygis, collected during the flowering or non-flowering period, were evaluated and compared. To investigate this potential, extracts were tested on their capacity to react with diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) in a homogeneous medium, and to inhibit Fe2+/ascorbate-induced membrane lipid peroxidation, as estimated by the formation of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS). Although methanol extracts reduce DPPH radicals more efficiently than ethyl ether extracts, suggesting a potent radical scavenger activity, the ethyl ether extracts were found to be most active in inhibiting lipid peroxidation in sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membranes. In addition, both extracts present peroxyl and superoxide radical scavenging activities. Peroxyl radicals were generated by the water soluble 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride (AAPH) azoinitiator, and the scavenging activities of the extracts were measured by the inhibition of cis-parinaric acid (PnA) fluorescence decay in SR. Superoxide radicals were generated either by an enzymatic or a non-enzymatic system, and the scavenger ability was evaluated by the inhibition of nitroblue tetrazolium reduction. Methanolic extracts are more potent as scavengers of peroxyl and superoxide radicals than the ethyl ether extracts. Apparently, there is a relationship between antioxidant potency and the total phenolic groups content in each extract.

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