Open Access Research article

Vellozia flavicans Mart. ex Schult. hydroalcoholic extract inhibits the neuromuscular blockade induced by Bothrops jararacussu venom

Natália Tribuiani1, Alexandro Mateus da Silva1, Miriéle Cristina Ferraz1, Magali Glauzer Silva1, Ana Paula Guerreiro Bentes2, Talita Signoreti Graziano2, Marcio Galdino dos Santos3, José Carlos Cogo4, Eliana Aparecida Varanda5*, Francisco Carlos Groppo2, Karina Cogo26 and Yoko Oshima-Franco1

Author Affiliations

1 Pharmaceutical Sciences post-graduation program, University of Sorocaba (UNISO), Rodovia Raposo Tavares km 92.5, Sorocaba, SP CEP 18023-000, Brazil

2 Piracicaba Dental School – University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Av. Limeira 901, Piracicaba, SP CEP 13414-903, Brazil

3 Environmental Sciences post-graduation program, PGCiamb, Tocantins Federal University (UFT), Av NS 15 ALC NO 14, 109 Norte, Porto Nacional, Tocantins CEP 77001-090, Brazil

4 Serpentárium of the Vale do Paraíba University (CEN - UNIVAP), Av Shishima Hifumi 2911, São José dos Campos, SP CEP 12244-000, Brazil

5 Pharmaceutical Sciences Faculty of Araraquara, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Rodovia Araraquara-Jau, Km 1, Araraquara, São Paulo CEP 14801-902, Brazil

6 Dentistry Department, de Santo Amaro University (UNISA), R. Prof. Eneas de Siqueira Neto 340, Santo Amaro, SP CEP 04829-300, Brazil

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:48  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-48

Published: 8 February 2014



Snakebite is a significant public health issue in tropical countries. In Brazil, some of the most common snake envenomations are from Bothrops. Bothrops bites trigger local and systemic effects including edema, pain, erythema, cyanosis, infections, and necrosis. Vellozia flavicans is a plant from the Brazilian “cerrado” (savanna) that is popularly used as an anti-inflammatory medicine. Since inflammation develops quickly after Bothrops bites, which can lead to infection, the aim of the present study was to observe possible anti-snake venom and antimicrobial activities of V. flavicans (Vf).


The chromatographic profile of the main constituents from the Vf leaf hydroalcoholic extract was obtained by thin-layer chromatography (TLC). The anti-snake venom activity was measured by Vf’s ability to neutralize the in vitro neuromuscular blockade caused by Bothrops jararacussu venom (Bjssu) in a mouse phrenic nerve-diaphragm model (PND). After a 20 min incubation, preparations of PND were added to Tyrode’s solution (control); Vf (0.2, 0.5, 1, and 2 mg/mL); 40 μg/mL Bjssu; pre-incubation for 30 min with Bjssu and 1 mg/mL Vf; and a Bjssu pretreated preparation (for 10 min) followed by 1 mg/mL Vf. Myographic recording was performed, and the contractile responses were recorded. The antimicrobial activity (minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC] and minimum bactericidal concentration [MBC]) was obtained for Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus faecalis, using gentamicin and vancomycin as positive controls.


TLC analysis yielded several compounds from Vf, such as flavonoids (quercetin) and phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid). Bjssu completely blocked the contractile responses of PND preparations, while Vf preserved 97% (±10%) of the contractile responses when incubated with Bjssu. In the PND pretreated with Bjssu, Vf was able to inhibit the neuromuscular blockade progress. MIC and MBC of Vf ranged from 2.5 to 5.0 mg/mL for P. aeruginosa and S. aureus strains, while no antimicrobial activity was observed for E. coli and E. faecalis.


The hydroalcoholic extract from Vf leaves was able to neutralize and decrease the in vitro neuromuscular blockade caused by Bjssu. However, it did not show significant antimicrobial activity against the tested bacteria.

Antimicrobial; Antiophidian; Medicinal plant; Snake venom