The antioxidant effects of the hydro-alcoholic guaraná extract (Paullinia cupana var. sorbilis Mart.) on nitric oxide (NO) and other compounds generated from the degradation of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) in an embryonic fibroblast culture (NIH-3T3 cells) were evaluated. The guaraná bioactive compounds were initially determined by high-performance liquid chromatography: caffeine=12.240 mg/g, theobromine=6.733 mg/g and total catechins=4.336 mg/g. Cells were exposed to 10 μM SNP during a 6 h period because the cells exhibited >90% mortality at this concentration. Guaraná was added to the cultures in five concentrations (0.5, 1, 5, 10 and 20 mg/mL). The guaraná antioxidant effect was evaluated by viability assays, biochemical oxidation [lipid peroxidation, catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity] and genotoxicity (DNA Comet assay) analysis. Additionally, oxidative stress was evaluated by a 2,7-dihydrodichlorofluorescein diacetate fluorescence assay. Guaraná reverted the SNP toxicity mainly at lower concentrations (<5 mg), which decreased cell mortality, lipid peroxidation, DNA damage and cell oxidative stress as well as increased the SOD levels. These results demonstrate that guaraná has an antioxidant effect on NO metabolism in situations with higher cellular NO levels.
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