Open Access Research article

Chemopreventive effect of Copaifera langsdorffii leaves hydroalcoholic extract on 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced DNA damage and preneoplastic lesions in rat colon

Juliana Marques Senedese1, Jacqueline Morais Alves1, Ildercílio Mota de Souza Lima1, Erick Augusto Pedroso de Andrade1, Ricardo Andrade Furtado2, Jairo Kenupp Bastos2 and Denise Crispim Tavares1*

Author Affiliations

1 Avenida Dr. Armando Salles de Oliveira, Universidade de Franca, 201 Parque Universitário, Franca, São Paulo 14404-600, Brazil

2 Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida do Café S/N, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, 14040-903, Brazil

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:3  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-3

Published: 7 January 2013



Natural antioxidants present in common foods and beverages have drawn great attention to cancer prevention due to its health benefits, remarkable lack of toxicity and side effects. Copaifera langsdorffii, known as “copaiba”, “capaiva”, or “pau-de-óleo“, belongs to the Leguminosae family and occurs in fields and grasslands in the northern and northeastern parts of Brazil. Biological studies of Copaifera corroborate its widespread use by the population. This paper describes the effects of C. langsdorffii leaves hydroalcoholic extract on the 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced DNA damage and aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in the colon of male Wistar rats.


The hydroalcoholic extract of C. langsdorffii was administered to rats by gavage at daily doses of 20, 40 and 80 mg/kg body weight. To evaluate DNA damage by the comet assay, animals received the C. langsdorffii extract for seven days and a single subcutaneous injection (sc) of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) at a dose of 40 mg/kg on day 7. Animals were sacrificed 4 h after injection of DMH, to assess DNA damage. For the ACF assay, animals were acclimatized for one week (week 1) and then treated with the C. langsdorffii extract five times a week for four weeks (weeks 2 to 5). The rats received sc injections of DMH (40 mg/kg) on days 2 and 5 of weeks 2 and 3, to induce ACF. Animals were euthanized at week 5; i.e., four weeks after the first DMH treatment.


Animals treated with different doses of the C. langsdorffii extract combined with DMH had significantly lower frequency of DNA damage as compared with the positive control (animals treated with DMH only). The percentage of reduction in the frequency of DNA damage ranged from 14.30% to 38.8%. The groups treated with 40 and 80 mg/kg C. langsdorffii extract during and after DMH treatment presented significantly lower numbers of ACF and aberrant crypts compared with the control.


The C. langsdorffii extract significantly reduced the extent of DNA damage and ACF induced by DMH, suggesting that the extract has a protective effect against colon carcinogenesis.

Copaifera langsdorffii; Comet assay; Aberrant crypt foci.