The leaves of A. dioica were collected in May 2009 in Dourados, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. A voucher specimen (DDMS 4598) was deposited at the Herbarium of the Federal University of Grande Dourados, Dourados, MS, Brazil.
Extraction, fractionation and isolation procedure
The air-dried and powdered aerial parts of A. dioica (850 g) were successively extracted via maceration with methanol. The extract was filtered and concentrated in a vacuum to obtain dry, crude methanol extract (EAD) (24.5 g). A portion of this extract (17.8 g) was dissolved in MeOH:H2O (1:1) and partitioned with n-hexane, chloroform and ethyl acetate. Each extract was dried over anhydrous sodium sulphate and concentrated under reduced pressure at a temperature not exceeding 35°C. This resulted in the n-hexane (HF, 3.8 g), chloroform (CF, 1.6 g) ethyl acetate (EAF, 6.2 g), and hydromethanol (HMF, 4.6 g) fractions. The EAF (3.2 g) was fractionated on Sephadex LH-20 using H2O, H2O: MeOH (75:25, 50:50, 25:75), and MeOH as the solvents to give ten sub-fractions (AD-1 to AD-10). The purification of sub-fraction AD-3 (505.2 mg) on Sephadex LH-20 using H2O, H2O: MeOH (75:25, 50:50, 25:75), and MeOH as the solvent yielded quercetin-3-O-galactoside (hyperoside) (32.4 mg) and mixture of quercetin-3-O-galactoside and kaempferol 3-O-galactoside (42.6 mg).
Identification of the isolated compounds
The isolated compounds were identified analysis of their NMR data. The NMR measurements were carried out on a Varian Mercury Plus BB spectrometer operating at 300 MHz for 1H and 75.5 MHz for 13C using CD3OD as the solvent and tetramethylsilane (TMS) as the internal standard.
The structures of quercetin 3-O
β-galactoside and the mixture of quercetin 3-O
β-galactoside and kaempferol-3-O
β-galactoside were elucidated using 1D and 2D NMR spectral data and by comparing their 1H and 13C NMR data with data reported in the literature [16, 17].
Quercetin 3-O-β-galactoside: 1H NMR δH (300 MHz, CD3OD): 6.20 (1H, d, J = 2.1Hz), 6.39 (1H, d, J = 2.1Hz,), 7.66 (1H, dd, J = 8.7 e 2.4Hz,), 6.80 (1H, d, J = 8.7Hz), 7.51 (1H, d, J = 2.4Hz,), 5.37 (1H, d, J = 7.8Hz,); 13C NMR δc (75,5 MHz, CD3OD): 177.7, 164.4, 161.5, 156.5, 156.3, 148.7, 145.1, 133.7, 122.2, 121.1, 116.2, 115.3, 102.0, 104.2, 98.9, 93.7, 76.1, 73.4, 71.4, 68.2, 60.4.
Kaempferol-3-O-β-galactoside: 1H NMR δH (300 MHz, CD3OD): 6.19 (1H, d, J = 2.1Hz), 6.42 (1H, d, J = 2.1Hz,), 8.06 (2H, d, J = 8.7Hz,), 6.85 (2H, d, J = 8.7Hz), 5.39 (1H, d, J = 7.8Hz). RMN 13C δc (75,5 MHz, CD3OD): 177.8, 164.4, 161.5, 160.2, 156.6, 156.5, 133.4, 131.3, 131,3, 121.3, 115.4, 115.3, 104.2, 101.9, 98.9, 93.9, 76.1, 73.4, 71.4, 68.2, 60.4.
Determination of total phenol content
The total phenolic content in the EAD was determined using the Folin-Ciocalteu method . Specifically, 100 μL of EAD in methanol (1 g/L) was mixed with 1.0 mL of distilled water and 0.5 mL of Folin-Ciocaleu’s (1:10 v/v) reagent. After 3 min, 1.5 mL of a saturated solution of Na2CO3 (2%) was added. After 30 min, the absorbance was measured at 765 nm using a spectrophotometer. The quantification was carried out using a standard curve of gallic acid prepared in 80% methanol, and the results are expressed in milligrams of gallic acid equivalent per gram of extract. The equation for the gallic acid curve was y = 6.8502x + 0.0148, with a correlation coefficient of R = 0.9946. The methanol solution was used as a blank. All of the assays were carried out in triplicate.
Determination of total flavonoids
To determine the level of flavonoids, 500 μL of EAD was mixed with 1.50 mL of 95% ethanol, 0.10 mL of 10% aluminium chloride (AlCl3.6H2O), 0.10 mL of acetate sodium (NaC2H3O2.3H2O) (1 M) and 2.80 mL of distilled water. The tubes were kept at room temperature for 40 min. The optical density was measured at 415 nm using a spectrophotometer. The same procedure was used for the analysis of the blank . To calculate the concentration of flavonoids, we prepared a calibration curve (2.5, 5.0, 10.0, 20.0, 25.0, 50.0, 100.0 and 125.0 μg) using quercetin as the standard. We then used these data to generate a linear regression model, and the line equation was obtained and used for the calculation of the experimental samples. The results are expressed in milligrams of quercetin equivalents per gram of extract. The equation of the quercetin curve was y = 12.341x + 0.009, with a correlation coefficient of R = 0.9977. All of the assays were carried out in triplicate.
DPPH free radical scavenging assay
The free radical scavenging activities of the crude methanol extract, and the hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and hydromethanol fractions were determined using the 1,1-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical (DPPH) method . Various concentrations of the samples were added to 2 mL of a methanol DPPH solution (0.1 mM) that was prepared daily. The mixture was shaken and left to stand at room temperature in the dark. After 30 min, the absorbance was measured at 517 nm against a blank containing all of the reagents except for the test samples. All of the assays were carried out in triplicate. BHT was used as the positive control. The IC50 (the concentration required for 50% inhibition of DPPH) was calculated using the graph of % I (inhibition percentage) versus the extract concentration in mg/mL. The percentage of DPPH inhibition (% I) was calculated using the following equation: % I = (A0 - A/A0) x 100, where A0 is the absorbance of DPPH (control), and A is the absorbance of the sample with DPPH.
The experiments were conducted using 30 male Wistar rats (150–230 g) and 30 male Swiss mice (25–35 g) provided by the Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados (UFGD). The animals were maintained under a 12-h light–dark cycle, with controlled humidity (60–80%) and temperature (22 ± 1°C). The animals were acclimatised to the experimentation room for at least 2 h before testing and were used only once throughout the experiments. All experimental procedures were carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the U.S. National Institute of Health and were approved by the ethics committee on laboratory animal use of the Centro Universitário da Grande Dourados (UNIGRAN) (Nbr. 118/2010).
The oral glucose tolerance test in non-diabetic rats
This experiment was designed to evaluate the hypoglycaemic potential of the EAD and EAF in normal rats using the method described by Al-Awadi et al. (1985) . The rats were orally treated daily for 5 d with crude methanol extract (EAD, 100 mg/kg) or the ethyl acetate fraction (EAF, 15 mg/kg). The reference drug, metformin (MET, 300 mg/kg), was also administered orally to the rats once a day. A separate control group of animals were orally administered the vehicle (saline plus tween 80 0.5%).
The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) for non-diabetic rats was performed according to the standard method . Briefly, all groups were selected for the OGT test after food deprivation for 16 h. The baseline (B) glucose level was measured using a glucometer (Accuchek® Performa) prior to glucose administration (2 g/kg body weight).
After measuring the glucose baseline, each group received the specified oral treatment. Serum glucose in a blood sample from the tail vein was measured using a glucometer at 60 min. The data are expressed as the means ± standard error of mean (SEM). Statistical comparisons were performed using a one-way ANOVA followed by the Student-Newman-Keuls test, and the differences were considered statistically significant when P < 0.05. All statistical calculations and graphs were prepared using GraphPad Prism version 5.0 for Windows (GraphPad Software, San Diego, CA, USA).
Carrageenan-induced paw oedema in mice
Five groups of mice (n = 6), were orally treated (p.o.) with the EAD (30–300 mg/kg). A separate control group was orally administered the vehicle (saline plus tween 80 0.5%). Another group of mice was treated subcutaneously with the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone (1 mg/kg). After 1 h, the animals received a 50-μl subcutaneous (s.c.) injection of Cg (300 μg/paw) dissolved in sterile 0.9% saline in the right hindpaw. The contralateral paw was injected with saline and used as the control. The thickness of paw oedema was measured using a digital micrometer  1 h before any treatment and at several time points (1, 2, and 4 h) after the injection of Cg. The results are expressed in μm, and the difference between the basal and post-injection values are quantified as oedema.
Determination of myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity
To investigate whether oral treatment with EAD (30 and 300 mg/kg) or vehicle could affect the cellular migration induced by Cg, the myeloperoxidase activity was measured. Animals were euthanised 6 h after Cg injection, as described previously . For MPO activity, the tissue was homogenised in 5% (w/v) of 80 mM phosphate buffer (pH 5.4) containing 0.5% hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide. The homogenate was centrifuged at 3200 rpm and 4°C for 20 min. Aliquots (30 μl) of each supernatant were mixed with 100 μl of 80 mM phosphate buffer, 85 μl of 0.22 M phosphate buffer and 15 μl of 0.017% H2O2 on a 96-well plate. The reaction was triggered with 20 μl of 3,3,3-tetramethylbenzidine (dissolved in N,N-dimethylformamide). The plate was kept at 37°C for 3 min, after which the reaction was stopped by adding 30 μl of 1.46 M sodium acetate, pH 3.0. The enzymatic activity was determined by measuring the optical density at 630 nm and is expressed as the mOD per milligram of protein.
The National Cancer Institute, Frederick MA/USA, kindly provided nine human cancer cell lines: U251 (glioma, CNS), UACC-62 (melanoma), MCF-7 (breast), NCI-ADR/RES (ovarian expressing phenotype multiple drug resistance), 786–0 (renal), NCI-H460 (lung, non-small cells), PC-3 (prostate), OVCAR-03 (ovarian), k-562 (leukaemia) and HT29 (colon). VERO (green monkey kidney cells), a normal cell line, was also used. The stock and experimental cultures were grown in medium containing 5 mL of RPMI 1640 (GIBCO BRL) supplemented with 5% foetal bovine serum (GIBCO BRL).
The stock cultures were grown in 5 mL of RPMI-1640 (GIBCO BRL) supplemented with 5% foetal bovine serum (FBS, GIBCO). A penicillin:streptomycin mixture (1000 U/mL:1000 μg/mL, 1 mL/L RPMI, Nutricel) was added to the experimental cultures.
The cells were plated in 96-well plates (100 μL cells/well) and exposed to different concentrations of the EAD (0.25, 2.5, 25 and 250 μg/mL) in DMSO/RPMI (0.1% v/v) at 37°C and 5% CO2 for 48 h. The final DMSO concentration did not affect cell viability. The cells were then fixed with a trichloroacetic acid solution (50%, v/v), and cell proliferation was determined via spectrophotometric quantification (540 nm, Molecular Devices Versa Max Microplate Reader) of the cellular protein content using a sulphorhodamine B assay . Doxorubicin (0.025-25 μg/mL) was used as a positive control. Three measurements were obtained: first at time zero (T
, at the beginning of incubation) and then 48 h post-incubation for both the compound-free (C) and tested (T) cells. Cell proliferation was determined using the equation 100 x [(T - T
)/C - T
. A cytostatic effect was observed when T ≥ T
, while a cytocidal effect occurred when T < T
. The experiments were performed in triplicate.
1,1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) λ-carrageenan (Cg), Tween 80, dexamethasone, trichloroacetic acid and doxorubicin were purchased from Sigma Chemical Co. (MO, USA). Analytical-grade methanol, hexane, anhydrous sodium sulphate and DMSO were obtained from Vetec (RJ, Brazil).