Potent antioxidant and genoprotective effects of boeravinone G, a rotenoid isolated from Boerhaavia diffusa

Gabriella Aviello, Jasna M Canadanovic-Brunet, Natasa Milic, Raffaele Capasso, Ernesto Fattorusso, Orazio Taglialatela-Scafati, Ines Fasolino, Angelo A Izzo, Francesca Borrelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Free radicals are implicated in the aetiology of some gastrointestinal disorders such as gastric ulcer, colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. In the present study we investigated the antioxidant and genoprotective activity of some rotenoids (i.e. boeravinones) isolated from the roots of Boerhaavia diffusa, a plant used in the Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract.

METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Antioxidant activity has been evaluated using both chemical (Electron Spin Resonance spectroscopy, ESR) and Caco-2 cells-based (TBARS and ROS) assays. DNA damage was evaluated by Comet assay, while pERK(1/2) and phospho-NF-kB p65 levels were estimated by western blot. Boeravinones G, D and H significantly reduced the signal intensity of ESR induced by hydroxyl radicals, suggesting a scavenging activity. Among rotenoids tested, boeravinone G exerted the most potent effect. Boeravinone G inhibited both TBARS and ROS formation induced by Fenton's reagent, increased SOD activity and reduced H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage. Finally, boeravinone G reduced the levels of pERK(1) and phospho-NF-kB p65 (but not of pERK(2)) increased by Fenton's reagent.

CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that boeravinone G exhibits an extraordinary potent antioxidant activity (significant effect in the nanomolar range). The MAP kinase and NF-kB pathways seem to be involved in the antioxidant effect of boeravinone G. Boeravinone G might be considered as lead compound for the development of drugs potentially useful against those pathologies whose aetiology is related to ROS-mediated injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19628
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by the Enrico ed Enrica Sovena Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


  • Antioxidants
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cell Survival
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Flavonoids
  • Humans
  • Hydroxides
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nyctaginaceae
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Roots
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Signal Transduction
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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