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Heteropterys aphrodisiaca, a Brazilian plant with antioxidant properties: shedding light on the mechanisms by which the plant extract decreases the oxidative stress in adult Wistar rat testis

Grant number: 11/12886-8
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2011 - December 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology
Principal Investigator:Mary Anne Heidi Dolder
Grantee:Mary Anne Heidi Dolder
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Fernanda Ramos Gadelha ; Mary Ann Foglio

Abstract

Heteropterys aphrodisiaca is an endemic Brazilian plant whose root is widely used as phytotherapic by local communities. Several properties have popularly been attributed to it, although none of them are scientifically proved. Furthermore, the plant is traditionally taken embedded in alcohol and, therefore it doesn't go through standard extraction procedures nor has its active compounds identified. Some therapeutical properties have recently been demonstrated for H. aphrodisiaca, such as quimioprotection against ciclosporin A and memory improvement in rodents. Recent in vitro assays carried out by our team have also identified an antioxidant activity for such plant, and hence its beneficial effects could partially be attributed to the capacity of scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) in body. Reactive oxygen species are free radicals which are able to oxidize a wide range of molecules and, thus they have been linked to several degenerative illnesses and to the aging process. The investigation of medicinal plants with antioxidant activity takes a great importance in this field as it means a therapeutical alternative towards oxidative stress related diseases. Mammal testis is known for being particularly vulnerable to ROS, turning this organ into an important experimental model regarding free radical researches. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to shed light on the antioxidant mechanisms of H. aphrodisiaca in Wistar rats testis undergoing cadmium induced oxidative stress. (AU)