Context: Annona muricata Linn (Annonaceae) (soursop) is a food plant reported to have antihypertensive properties.
Objective: We investigated the blood pressure reducing effect of its aqueous leaf extract and the possible mechanisms that may be responsible.
Methods: Intravenous administration of an aqueous leaf extract (9.17-48.5 mg/kg) of A. muricata on the mean arterial pressure and heart rate were recorded invasively on anaesthetized, normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats. Contractile responses of rat aortic rings to the extract (0.5-4.0 mg/mL) were studied using standard organ bath techniques.
Results: A. muricata (9.17-48.5 mg/kg) caused significant (p < 0.05) dose-dependent reduction in blood pressure without affecting the heart rates. The hypotensive effects were unaffected by atropine (2 mg/kg), mepyramine (5 mg/kg), propranolol (1 mg/kg) and L-NAME (5 mg/kg). A. muricata leaf aqueous extract significantly (p < 0.05) relaxed phenylephrine (10(-9)-10(-4) M) and 80 mM KCl induced contractions in endothelium intact and denuded aortic rings; and caused a significant (p < 0.05) rightward shift of the Ca(2+) dose response curves in Ca(2+)-free Kreb's solution containing 0.1 mM EGTA.
Conclusions: The hypotensive effects of A. muricata are not mediated through muscarinic, histaminergic, adrenergic and nitric oxide pathways, but through peripheral mechanisms involving antagonism of Ca(2+).