Genotoxicity of Brosimum gaudichaudii (Moraceae) and Caesalpinia ferrea (Fabaceae) in Astyanax sp. (Characidae) based on a comet assay
The plants Brosimum gaudichaudii (inharé) and Caesalpinia ferrea (jucá) are widely distributed throughout Brazil and are considered medicinal. Inharé has been popularly used as a blood purifier, for the treatment of skin and vitiligo, while jucáis considered analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anticancer. These therapeutic properties have been attributed to phytochemicals such as coumarins, flavonoids and tannins. However, the mechanisms of action of most of these phytochemicals have not yet been fully elucidated and they may compromise human health. Consequently, the evaluation of the genotoxic effect of these plant extracts is fundamental for the determination of safe doses for human consumption. We evaluated the genotoxic effect of various concentrations of extracts of B. gaudichaudii and C. ferrea using comet assay of erythrocytes from Astyanax sp. exposed in vivo. In the comet assay indicated the tail migration of DNA increased significantly in the group of cells exposed to C. ferrea for various treatments and the olive tail movement exhibited a significantly higher extent of DNA damage, indicating the potential genotoxicity of the extract. On the other hand, it is premature to claima lack of genotoxic effect for B. gaudichauddi extracts since our experimental design was not able to rule out apotential effect of DNA damage as the concentration of 20mg/L seemed to increase the likelihood of genotoxicity. Thus, larger doses of B. gaudichauddi extracts should be tested in future studies of the kind. Our investigation provided valuable data for two species of plants widely used in folk medicine in different regions of Brazil. We recommend caution when using thses species for their medicinal properties.