Effect of Brazilian green propolis on the production of reactive oxygen species by stimulated neutrophils

J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Sep;94(1):59-65. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.04.026.


The activity of a crude ethanol extract of green propolis and its fractions obtained by partition with hexane, chloroform and n-butanol was assessed on luminol- and lucigenin- enhanced chemiluminescence (CL) produced by rabbit neutrophils (PMNs) stimulated with particles of serum-opsonized zymosan (OZ). The total production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by PMNs was measured by the luminol-enhanced CL (LumCL) assay and the production of the superoxide anion (O2*-) by the lucigenin-enhanced CL (LucCL) assay. All evaluated propolis samples had inhibitory effect on the LumCL and LucCL, which was concentration dependent. The n-butanol and chloroform fractions displayed the highest inhibitory effect on the LumCL produced by PMNs stimulated with OZ, in comparison with both the ethanol extract and the hexane fraction. Besides, the hexane fraction was the one which presented the highest effect for the LucCL assay. Some isolated compounds from both n-butanol and chloroform fractions were also assessed, including kaempferide, isosakuranetin, aromadendrine-4'-methyl-ether and 3-prenyl-p-coumaric acid. Kaempferide presented the highest inhibitory effect on the LumCL in comparison with the other compounds. Moreover, under the conditions assessed, the studied green propolis samples and isolated compounds were not toxic to the rabbit PMNs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / toxicity
  • Brazil
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Propolis / chemistry
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Propolis / toxicity
  • Rabbits
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Superoxides / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Zymosan


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxides
  • Propolis
  • Zymosan