Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Print version ISSN 1984-8250
MARIOTTI, Kristiane de Cássia et al. Study of acute toxicity and investigation of the presence of β-N-methylamino-L-alanine in the Gunnera manicata L. a species native to Southern Brazil. Braz. J. Pharm. Sci. [online]. 2011, vol.47, n.3, pp. 623-628. ISSN 1984-8250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1984-82502011000300021.
Gunnera (Gunneraceae) forms a complex association with the cyanobacterium Nostoc puctiforme L. Gunnera-Nostoc symbiosis is the only one reported involving a flowering plant, and results in the formation of the neurotoxic amino acid β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA). The species Gunnera manicata L., for which phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological studies are lacking, is found in Southern Brazil. Therefore, acute toxicity and the presence of neurotoxic amino acid were investigated in aqueous extracts of G. manicata. The acute toxicity test was conducted by administering aqueous root extract of G. manicata at a concentration of 2000 mg/kg in a single dose orally to Wistar rats. Lethality was monitored daily for 14 days after treatment. The relative mass of organs was analyzed by one-way ANOVA and macroscopic changes were investigated. The analysis of BMAA, a procedure performed by GC/MS, involved a preliminary derivatization step. The ESI-MS/MS analysis was done by direct infusion. The present study demonstrated absence of neurotoxin in the samples of G. manicata analyzed and absence of acute toxicity in aqueous root extracts. These data confirm that extracts from the roots of G. manicata have a high margin of drug safety.
Keywords : Gunnera manicata L; /toxicity; β-N-methylamino-L-alanine [identification]; Neurotoxins [identification]; Acute toxicity.