Pharmacological activity of monocrotalina isolated from plants of the genus Crotalaria

Crotalia retusa is a plant found in Brazilian Northeast and belongs to the genus Crotalaria and the family Leguminosae, which comprises more than 600 species throughout the world and more than forty in Brazil. The most known toxic species are C. spectabilis, C. crispata, C. retusa, C. dura and C. globifera. Plants of the Crotalaria genus are of great interest because they are used by humans for folk medicine. These plants are rich in pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), which are the main toxins that cause effects such as pneumotoxic, nefrotoxic, cardiotoxic, fetotoxic, carcinogenic, inflammation, hemorrhage and fibrosis. Monocrotaline is the main pirrolizidinic alkaloid found in plants and is actively oxidated in vivo by the cytochrome P450 in the liver, yielding highly reactive pyrrolic type intermediates, which are responsible for DNA-DNA and DNA-protein cross-links reaction. The aim of this work is to make a bibliographic survey via internet, using databases, scientific research programs and related books, about pharmacological activity and mechanism of action of monocrotaline extracted from plants of Crotalaria genus, emphasizing plant botanical aspects, chemical structure of pirrolizidinic alkaloid, experimental examples of toxicity and probable action mechanism.

Monocrotaline; hepatotoxity; Crotalaria; dehydromonocrotaline

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