Antioxidant Activity of Calendula officinalis Extract: Inhibitory Effects on Chemiluminescence of Human Neutrophil Bursts and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance SpectroscopyBraga P.C.a · Dal Sasso M.a · Culici M.a · Spallino A.a · Falchi M.a · Bertelli A.a · Morelli R.b · Lo Scalzo R.c
aDepartment of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Milan, bCNR Institute of Molecular Science and Technology, and cAgricultural Research Council (CRA), Research Unit for Processing and Agrofood Industry (IAA), Milan,Italy
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There is growing interest in natural chemical compounds from aromatic, spicy, medicinal and other plants with antioxidant properties in order to find new sources of compounds inactivating free radicals generated by metabolic pathways within body tissue and cells, mainly polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) whose overregulated recruitment and activation generate a large amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), leading to an imbalance of redox homeostasis and oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to examine whether a propylene glycol extract of Calendula officinalis interferes with ROS and RNS during the PMN respiratory bursts, and to establish the lowest concentration at which it still exerts antioxidant activity by means of luminol-amplified chemiluminescence. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was also used in order to confirm the activity of the C. officinalis extract. The C. officinalis extract exerted its anti-ROS and anti-RNS activity in a concentration-dependent manner, with significant effects being observed at even very low concentrations: 0.20 μg/ml without L-arginine, 0.10 μg/ml when L-arginine was added to the test with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and 0.05 μg/ml when it was added to the test with N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine. The EPR study confirmed these findings, 0.20 μg/ml being the lowest concentration of C. officinalis extract that significantly reduced 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl. These findings are interesting for improving the antioxidant network and restoring the redox balance in human cells with plant-derived molecules as well as extending the possibility of antagonizing the oxidative stress generated in living organisms when the balance is in favor of free radicals as a result of the depletion of cell antioxidants.
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