Evaluation of immunomodulatory and antiinflammatory effects and phytochemical screening of Alternanthera tenella Colla (Amaranthaceae) aqueous extracts

Author(s): Biella CA, Salvador MJ, Dias DA, Dias-Baruffi M, Crotti LSP


Alternanthera tenella Colla extracts are used in Brazilian traditional folk medicine to treat a variety of infectious diseases as well as inflammation and fever. In this work, the immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and potential toxic effects of cold (CAE) and hot (HAE) aqueous extracts of A. tenella were investigated in vivo. In addition, we analyzed the phytochemical properties of both extracts. BALB/c mice were immunized in vivo with sheep red blood cells and concomitantly inoculated intraperitoneally (i.p.) with each extract (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg). Specific antibody-producing cells were enumerated using plaque-forming cell assays (PFC) and anti-SRBC IgG and IgM serum levels were measured via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Body and lymphoid organ weights were determined after treatments in order to evaluate toxic effects. Carrageenan-induced paw edema was employed to investigate anti-inflammatory activity in mice inoculated i.p. with CAE or HAE (200 or 400 mg/kg). Phytochemical screening was performed using spectrometric and chromatographic approaches and revealed that CAE possessed higher tannin and flavonoid levels than HAE. PFC numbers were increased after treatment with CAE (100 mg/kg) four days after immunization, as were the serum antibody titers after four and seven days, suggesting immunostimulatory activity through modulation of B lymphocyte functions. Body and organ weights did not show major changes, suggesting that extracts administered to mice did not induce significant toxicity. Both extracts had significant anti-inflammatory activity in the paw edema assay. These results suggested that aqueous extracts from A. tenella contained several chemical compounds that possess positive and/or negative modulator effects on the immune system, which appeared to correlate with tannin and flavonoid levels in those extracts. In summary, these studies provide important insight into the biological activities of A. tenella.

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