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Nitric Oxide. 2007 Feb;16(1):118-30. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

Protective effect of Hypericum perforatum in zymosan-induced multiple organ dysfunction syndrome: relationship to its inhibitory effect on nitric oxide production and its peroxynitrite scavenging activity.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Messina, Torre Biologica, Policlinico Universitario Via C. Valeria, Gazzi, 98100 Messina, Italy.


Hypericum perforatum is a medicinal plant species containing many polyphenolic compounds, namely flavonoids and phenolic acids. Since polyphenolic compounds have high antioxidant potential, we have investigated the effects of H. perforatum extract on the development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome caused by zymosan (500 mg/kg, administered i.p. as a suspension in saline) in mice. Organ failure and systemic inflammation in rats was assessed 18 h after administration of zymosan and/or H. perforatum extract and monitored for 12 days (for loss of body weight and mortality). Treatment of mice with H. perforatum extract (30 mg/kg i.p., 1 and 6h after zymosan) attenuated the peritoneal exudation and the migration of polymorphonuclear cells caused by zymosan, pulmonary, intestinal and pancreatic injury, and renal dysfunction as well as the increase in myeloperoxidase in the lung and intestine. Immunohistochemical analysis for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), nitrotyrosine, and poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) revealed positive staining in lung and intestine tissues obtained from zymosan-injected mice. The degree of staining for nitrotyrosine, iNOS, and PAR was markedly reduced in tissue sections obtained from zymosan-treated mice, which received H. perforatum extract. In conclusion, this study provides evidence, for the first time, that H. perforatum extract attenuates the degree of zymosan-induced multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in mice.

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