P.L. Owen, T. Matainaho, M. Sirois, T. Johns

Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology 21(5): 231-42. (2007)

Habitual consumption of some Melanesian medicinal and food plants may influence atherosclerosis development via their antioxidant capacity at theendothelial level. Areca nut (AN; Areca catechu), piper inflorescence (PBI; Piper betle), betel quid (BQ), guava buds (GB; Psidium guajava), the leaves (NL), juice (NJ), fruit (NF), and root (NR) of noni (Morinda citrifolia), the propagules of raw (MBR), and cooked (MBC) mangrove (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza) were evaluated for their ability to scavenge the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyle (DPPH) radical, to protect human low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from Cu2+-catalyzed oxidation and to protect cultured bovine aortal endothelial cells (BAEC) from oxidized LDL (oxLDL)-induced cytotoxicity. Polyphenol-rich extracts AN, PBI, and BQ were potent DPPH scavengers, having similar activity to quercetin and able to protect LDL from oxidation in a dose-dependent manner at concentrations higher than 10 microg/mL, but were pro-oxidants at lower concentrations. These extracts were cytotoxic to BAEC at concentrations above 10 microg/mL and were unable to prevent oxLDL endotheliopathy. GB and NR at 10 mug/mL displayed both the ability to delay LDL oxidation and prevent oxLDL cytotoxicity, although the latter lacked the ability to scavenge the DPPH radical. At higher concentrations, however, both were cytotoxic in themselves. The remaining noni extracts NF, NJ, NL, and both mangrove extracts MBC and MBR were unable to protect LDL from oxidation at all tested concentrations, but were effective cytoprotective agents at 50 microg/mL. All extracts were able to prevent an oxLDL-mediated increase in intracellular aldehyde generation but had little effect on extracellular peroxidation as measured by thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). On the basis of this model system, we conclude that the antioxidant benefits of AN, PBI, and BQ may be offset by their enhancement of their cytotoxic effects of oxLDL toward BAEC, whereas GB and low concentrations of noni and mangrove may be considered antiatherogenic. The discrepancies between our in vitro and cellular culture experiments emphasize the importance of experimental conditions in evaluating the antioxidant potential of crude plant extracts.