Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng) extract modulates Mapk and mucin pathways in intestinal inflammation

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Mar 1;213:21-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.10.009. Epub 2017 Oct 14.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Pfaffia paniculata is an endemic Brazilian plant traditionally used against fatigue, stress, inflammation and low immune system as well as with proven intestinal anti-inflammatory activity.

Aim of the study: To evaluate intestinal anti-inflammatory effects of P. paniculata on the mRNA abundance of Hsp70, Heparanase, Mapk1, Mapk3, Mapk6, Mapk9, Muc1, Muc2, Muc3, Muc4, and NF-κB, as well as the mucin content in colonic samples.

Material and methods: Intestinal inflammation was induced by TNBS and rats were divided into groups that received vehicle or 25, 50, 100, or 200mg/kg of P. paniculata extract, p.o., started 2h after inflammation induction and continued daily for 7 days. At the end of the procedure, the animals were killed and their colon samples were obtained for RT-qPCR analysis and mucin histochemical study with PAS/Alcian blue stain. The inflammatory process was confirmed with colon macroscopic analysis and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity.

Results: P. paniculata at 200mg/kg significantly decreased macroscopic damage score, extension of lesion and colonic MPO activity. Besides, P. paniculata at a dose of 25mg/kg was also able to significantly decrease Hsp70, while treatment with 50mg/kg reduced Mapk3 and increased Muc4. At dose of 100mg/kg P. paniculata increased Mapk1, Muc3, Muc4, and decreased Mapk3. Finally, at the 200mg/kg P. paniculata reduced Mapk3. The heparanase, NF-κB, Mapk6, Mapk9, Muc1 and Muc2 mRNA abundances were not altered after P. paniculata treatments.

Conclusion: Intestinal anti-inflammatory activity of P. paniculata was related to modulation of Mapks and mucin gene expression, as well as mucus secretion in intestinal inflammation.

Keywords: Intestinal inflammation; Mapk; Mucins; Pfaffia paniculata.

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthaceae*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / drug therapy
  • Colitis / genetics
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Male
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Mucins / genetics*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Mucins
  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • heparanase
  • Glucuronidase