Presently, medicinal plants, such as Pothomorphe umbellata L. (Piperaceae), have been assessed as sources of potential therapeutic medicines. The inhibitory effects of the crude extract, fractions and 4-nerolidylcathecol, a phenolic compound which has been assigned significant activity in several beneficial properties performed by the plant, on the molecular pathways of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) were evaluated. The in vitro inhibition of COX-2 was performed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Methylene chloride fraction demonstrated the preeminent inhibition of COX-2. In order to estimate the inhibition of NF-κB, an adaptation of the luciferase plasmid assay was developed. 4-Nerolidylcathecol presented the best inhibition NF-κB activity. The results obtained from the in vitro assays were promising, mainly on the molecular pathway of NF-κB, once 4-nerolidylcathecol demonstrated a remarkable inhibition activity.
Key words: Piperaceae, Pothomorphe umbellata, Piper umbellatum, 4-nerolidylcathecol, folk medicine, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), inflammation.
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