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Open Access Research article

Protective action of a hexane crude extract of Pterodon emarginatus fruits against oxidative and nitrosative stress induced by acute exercise in rats

Fernanda BA Paula1, Cibele MCP Gouvêa2, Patrícia P Alfredo3 and Ione Salgado4*

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Escola de Farmácia e Odontologia de Alfenas (EFOA), Alfenas, MG, 37130-000, Brazil

2 Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Escola de Farmácia e Odontologia de Alfenas (EFOA), Alfenas, MG, 37130-000, Brazil

3 Faculdade de Fisioterapia, Universidade de Alfenas, MG, 37130-000, Brazil

4 Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, SP, 13083-970, Brazil

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2005, 5:17  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-17

Published: 17 August 2005



The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effect of a hexane crude extract (HCE) of Pterodon emarginatus on the oxidative and nitrosative stress induced in skeletal muscle, liver and brain of acutely exercised rats.


Adult male rats were subjected to acute exercise by standardized contractions of the tibialis anterior (TA) muscle (100 Hz, 15 min) and treated orally with the HCE (once or three times with a fixed dose of 498 mg/kg), before and after acute exercise. Serum creatine kinase activity was determined by a kinetic method and macrophage infiltration by histological analyses of TA muscle. Lipid peroxidation was measured as malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. Nitric oxide production was evaluated by measuring nitrite formation, using Griess reagent, and nitrotyrosine was assessed by western blotting.


Serum creatine kinase activities in the controls (111 U/L) increased 1 h after acute exercise (443 U/L). Acute exercise also increased the infiltration of macrophages into TA muscle; lipid peroxidation levels in TA muscle (967%), liver (55.5%) and brain (108.9%), as well as the nitrite levels by 90.5%, 30.7% and 60%, respectively. The pattern of nitrotyrosine formation was also affected by acute exercise. Treatment with HCE decreased macrophage infiltration, lipid peroxidation, nitrite production and nitrotyrosine levels to control values.


Acute exercise induced by functional electrical stimulation in rats resulted in increase in lipid peroxidation, nitrite and nitrotyrosine levels in brain, liver and skeletal muscle. The exercise protocol, that involved eccentric muscle contraction, also caused some muscle trauma, associated with over-exertion, leading to inflammation. The extract of P. emarginatus abolished most of these oxidative processes, thus confirming the high antioxidant activity of this oil which infusions are used in folk medicine against inflammatory processes.