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Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of unexplored Brazilian native fruits


Brazilian native fruits are unmatched in their variety, but a poorly explored resource for the development of food and pharmaceutical products. The aim of this study was to evaluate the phenolic composition as well as the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of the extracts of leaves, seeds, and pulp of four Brazilian native fruits (Eugenia leitonii, Eugenia involucrata, Eugenia brasiliensis, and Eugenia myrcianthes). GC-MS analyses of the ethanolic extracts showed the presence of epicatechin and gallic acid as the major compounds in these fruits. Antioxidant activity was measured using synthetic DPPH free-radical scavenging, ²-carotene bleaching assay, and reactive oxygen species (ROO*, O2*-, and HOCl). The fruit extracts also exhibited antioxidant effect against biologically relevant radicals such as peroxyl, superoxide, and hypochlorous acid. In general, the pulps were the fruit fractions that exhibited the lowest antioxidant activities, whereas the leaves showed the highest ones. The anti-inflammatory activity was assessed in an in vivo model using the carrageenan-induced neutrophil migration assay, which evaluates the inflammatory response in the acute phase. The pulp, seeds, and leaves of these fruits reduced the neutrophil influx by 40% to 64%. Based on these results, we suggest that the anti-inflammatory activity of these native fruits is related to the modulation of neutrophil migration, through the inhibition of cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules, as well as to the antioxidant action of their ethanolic extracts in scavenging the free-radicals released by neutrophils. Therefore, these native fruits can be useful to produce food additives and functional foods. (AU)