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Identification of compounds from Palicourea rigida leaves with topical anti-inflammatory potential using experimental models

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Inflammopharmacology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Palicourea rigida Kunth is traditionally used for the treatment of skin diseases, kidney pains and ovarian inflammation. Based on these traditional uses, this study evaluated the topical anti-inflammatory activity of the ethanol extract from P. rigida leaves (EEPR) and identified bioactive compounds. Ear edema was induced in Swiss mice by the topical application of Croton oil, arachidonic acid, phenol and capsaicin. Histopathological analysis and myeloperoxidase and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase activities were determined. EEPR was characterized by UHPLC–UV–MS HPLC and the isolated compound was identified through 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance and mass fragmentation. Interaction profiles between quercetin 3-O-β-d-glucoside and cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 were established by molecular docking. EEPR significantly inhibited ear edema induced by Croton oil (p < 0.001), arachidonic acid (p < 0.01), phenol (p < 0.001) and capsaicin (p < 0.01 or p < 0.001). Histopathological analysis showed a reduction of edema, inflammatory cell infiltration and vasodilation. Additionally, the myeloperoxidase and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase activities were decreased (p < 0.001). From spectroscopic data, quercetin 3-O-β-d-glucoside was the identified compound. This compound can to interact with cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 through van der Waals interactions and dipole–dipole and hydrogen bonding’s, demonstrating inhibition of these enzymes. The results indicate that EEPR is a source of active compounds with topical anti-inflammatory activity, justifying the traditional use of P. rigida and showing that this species has a therapeutic potential to treat skin inflammatory processes.

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Ethanol extract from P. rigida leaves


Ultra-high performance liquid chromatographic




Mass spectrometry


Arachidonic acid


Ethyl phenylpropiolate






Thin layer chromatography






Negative control


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This study was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG; Grant No. CDS—APQ-01805-12), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES; Grant No. AUX-PE-PNPD-2893/2011), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), and Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação da Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora. We are grateful to Éder Luis Tostes and Jésus de Paula Sarmento, for the technical support.

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All authors had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity and accuracy of the data analysis. Study concept and design: OVS, ALAA, and ALSMA. Acquisition of data: RPP, MAM, BCSS, RLF, and GDVV. Analysis and interpretation of data: OVS, ALAA, GDVV, and RLF. Drafting of the manuscript: OVS, ALAA, ALSMA, and RPP. Study supervision: OVS.

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Correspondence to Orlando V. Sousa.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed were in accordance with international and national and were approved by Ethics Committee for Animal Research of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (Protocols nos. 47 and 49/2012).

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Pinheiro, R.P., Moraes, M.A., Santos, B.C.S. et al. Identification of compounds from Palicourea rigida leaves with topical anti-inflammatory potential using experimental models. Inflammopharmacol 26, 1005–1016 (2018).

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