Gastroprotective activity of hydroalcoholic extract of the leaves of Urera baccifera in rodents
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Ethnopharmacological importance: The species Urera baccifera (L.) Gaudich. ex Wedd. (Urticaceae) is native to the Americas and is distributed widely throughout Brazil, where it is known as urtiga-brava, urtiga-vermelha, or urtigao. The leaves are often used as anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic agents and for the treatment of gastric disorders. However, the pharmacological mode of action underlying the gastroprotection induced by this species has not been investigated. Aim of the study: To contribute to the knowledge of the gastroprotective mode of action of the hydroalcoholic extract of U. baccifera (HEU) leaves. Materials and methods: Antiulcerogenic effect of HEU against ethanol-induced acute gastric ulcer was evaluated in rats and mice at doses of 3-300 mg/kg. NO-synthase inhibitor (L-NAME), SH blocker (NEM), cyclooxygenase inhibitor (indomethacin) and alpha 2-adrenergic receptor antagonist yohimbine were used to evaluate the participation of cytoprotective factors in HEU gastroprotection. Moreover, the levels of reduced gluthatione (GSH) and cytokines (TNF, IL-6, IL4 and IL-10), as well as the enzymatic activity of gluthatione S-transferase (GST), myeloperoxidase (MPO), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were measure. Moreover, the samples were analyzed histologically and the antisecretory capability of HEU were quantified using pylorus ligated rats. Results: The phytochemical analysis of HEU (UPLC/ESI-IT-MS) identified the flavonoids diosmetin and apigenin glucuronide. Furthermore, HEU decreased the occurrence of ethanol-induced ulcers at 30 and 300 mg/kg by 57% and 66%, respectively, compared with the vehicle. The gastroprotective effects were accompanied by increased GSH levels and GST and SOD activity as well as by reduced MPO activity in vivo and in vitro, revealing antioxidant effects and inhibition of neutrophil infiltration. The beneficial effects of 30 and 300 mg/kg HEU were also observed upon histological analyses. Regarding the mode of action, the gastroprotective effect of HEU was abolished by the pre-administration of L-NAME, NEM, indomethacin or yohimbine. Moreover, HEU was able to decrease the IL-6, IL-4 and IL-10 in ulcerated tissue, as well as the pepsin activity of the gastric juice in pylorus-ligated rats. Conclusion: Together, the results confirmed that the gastroprotection elicited by HEU was due reduction in oxidative damage, neutrophil migration, and peptic activity. This work validates the popular use of U. baccifera to treat gastric disorders and supports important future research for the identification of gastroprotective molecules from this species.