Indexed on: 09 Apr '18Published on: 09 Apr '18Published in: Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Croton conduplicatus Kunth (Euphorbiaceae) is a Brazilian aromatic medicinal plant, widely known as "quebra-faca". In folk medicine, its leaves and stem-barks are used as a natural analgesic for the treatment of headaches. In this study, we describe for the first time the neuropharmacological potential of the essential oil obtained from the leaves of Croton conduplicatus (EO) in experimental models of pain, anxiety and insomnia. The mechanisms of action involved in these activities were also investigated. Different experimental models were used to evaluate the antinociceptive (acetic acid, formalin-induced nociception and hot plate tests), anxiolytic (elevated plus maze and hole board tests) and sedative (thiopental-induced sleeping time) effects of EO in mice. EO was evaluated in three different doses (25, 50 and 100mg/kg, i.p.) and compared with positive and negative controls in all experimental protocols. When appropriate, animals were pretreated with pharmacological antagonists (naloxone, atropine and flumazenil) in order to evaluate the mechanisms of action involved. A docking study also was performed to identify possible targets involved. EO (25, 50 and 100mg/kg, i.p.) demonstrated a significant antinociceptive activity in all experimental models. Pretreatment with naloxone or atropine reversed the antinociceptive response (p<0.05), suggesting the involvement of opioid and muscarinic receptors, respectively. A docking study was performed with the major components identified in EO (1,8 cineole - 21.42%, spathulenol - 15.47%, p-cymene - 12.41% and caryophyllene oxide - 12.15%), demonstrating favorable interaction profile with different subtypes of muscarinic (M2, M3 and M4) and opioids (delta and mu) receptors. EO also showed anxiolytic (mainly at doses of 25 and 50mg/kg, i.p.) and sedative (only at the dose of 100mg/kg, i.p.) effects in mice. These pharmacological responses were reversed by flumazenil (p<0.05), indicating possible involvement of GABAreceptors. Our findings support the traditional use of this plant as a natural analgesic and suggest that EO is a multi-target natural product, presenting not only antinociceptive effect but also anxiolytic and sedative activities depending on the dose used. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.