Capsicum baccatum is the most consumed red pepper species in Brazil. Our previous studies demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of its crude extract, whose activity is yet to be fully characterized. Herein, we examined the anti-inflammatory in vivo effects of enriched extracts obtained through bioguided fractionation as dichloromethane (DCM), butanol (BUT), and residual aqueous (RAq) extracts and its influence on inflammatory mediators produced by macrophages in vitro. We demonstrated that all C. baccatum extracts presented anti-inflammatory activity in vivo. In addition, we showed that BUT and RAq were more effective in inhibiting the neutrophil migration induced by carrageenan (Cg) to peritoneal cavity and both extracts inhibited paw edema induced by Cg, prostaglandin E2, and histamine in mice. Furthermore, the pretreatment with C. baccatum extracts significantly reduced the levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO) in the paw tissues of mice compared with the carrageenan group. Once again, RAq and BUT caused the greatest reduction in MPO levels. Moreover, it was demonstrated for the first time that C. baccatum inhibited the nitric oxide and tumor necrosis factor-alpha production by lipopolysaccharide/interferon gamma (IFN-γ)-stimulated macrophages. These anti-inflammatory effects seem to be at least, in part, independent of capsaicin. Hence, red pepper has bioactive compounds and might be used to develop food-derived extracts to treat related inflammatory diseases.
Keywords: anti-inflammatory; capsaicin; histamine; nitric oxide; prostaglandin E2.