Background: Oxidation of low density lipoproteins and their further uptake by macrophages is known to result in the formation of foam cells, which are critical in the initiation of atherosclerosis through activation of inflammatory signalling cascades. Thus, powerful dietary antioxidants are receiving attention for the reversal of such pathological states.
Materials and methods: Extracts of Scoparia dulcis have been used as tea and health drinks with various health promoting effects. In the present study, we examined the reactive oxygen scavenging potential as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic efficacies, using leaf extracts obtained after successive extraction with various solvents.
Results: A methanol extract showed potent antioxidant activity with an IC50 value of 570 μg/ml, caused hydrogen peroxide scavenging (28.9 µg/ml) and anti-inflammatory effects by improving human erythrocyte membrane stabilisation (about 86%). The methanol extract also efficiently inhibited lipid peroxidation and oxidation of low density lipoproteins, thus preventing foam cell formation in cultured RAW 264.7 cells. Furthermore, phytochemical screening of the extracts showed high accumulation of flavonoids.
Conclusions: The foliar methanol extract of Scoparia dulcis has a strong anti-atherogenic potential and this property could be attributed maybe due to presence of flavonoids since HPLC analysis showed high concentrations of myricetin and rutin in the methanol extract.
Keywords: Anti-atherogenic; Scoparia dulcis; anti-inflammatory; flavonoids; foam cells.