Bioassay-guided evaluation of Dioscorea villosa - an acute and subchronic toxicity, antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory approach

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Jul 28:13:195. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-195.

Abstract

Background: Dioscorea villosa (DV) has been used in Brazil as an alternative medicine to attenuate menopause symptoms, as well as for the treatment of joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. In spite of the popular use of DV for the treatment of various disorders, there are limited scientific data regarding safety aspects of this herb. In this regard, we carried out to evaluated both antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activities in experimental models and assess the toxic effects of the acute (single dose) and subchronic (30 days) oral administration of dry extract of Dioscorea villosa in rodents.

Methods: The LC analyses were performed to assess the presence of the diosgenin in samples of DV. The antinociceptive study of DV was performed using models of acetic acid-induced writhing and formalin-induced pain in mice. The anti-inflammatory study was accomplished by leukocyte migration to the peritoneal cavity. A dry extract of DV was tested at doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg (per os or p.o.). The toxicological properties of the dry extract were evaluated by toxicity assays of acute (5 g/kg, single dose) and subchronic (1 g/kg/day, 30 days) treatment. Haematological, biochemical, and histopathological parameters were studied. The results are expressed as mean ± S.D., and statistical analysis of the data were performed with the Student's t-test or one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Tukey's test. In all cases differences were considered significant if p < 0.05.

Results: HPLC-DAD analysis of the extract from DV revealed the presence of diosgenin as the major compound. Doses of 200 and 400 mg⁄kg significantly reduced the amount of acetic acid-induced writhing in relation to the vehicle (p < 0.0001). In the first phase, using the formalin-induced neurogenic pain test, only the 400 mg/kg dose of DV showed significant inhibition of neurogenic pain (p < 0.001). In the second phase, 200 and 400 mg/kg of DV showed significant inhibition of inflammatory pain (p < 0.0001). Significant inhibition of leukocyte migration was observed with doses of 100 (p < 0.001), 200 (p < 0.01) and 400 mg/kg (p < 0.01). Haematological, biochemical and histopathological data obtained in both acute and subchronic toxicological assays revealed only unremarkable changes, which are unlikely to indicate DV toxicity with oral administration.

Conclusion: We found that DV possesses antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties in rodent models. In addition, no acute or subchronic toxicity was evident when the herbal extract was administered orally. These results supporting the folkloric usage of the plant to treat various inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid
  • Administration, Oral
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Assay
  • Dioscorea / adverse effects
  • Dioscorea / chemistry*
  • Diosgenin / adverse effects
  • Diosgenin / analysis
  • Diosgenin / pharmacology
  • Diosgenin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Formaldehyde
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Leukocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar

Substances

  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Formaldehyde
  • Diosgenin
  • Acetic Acid