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In vitro erythrocyte oxidative damage of Morinda citrifolia L (noni) leaves extract

Alicia Lagarto, Jeney Ramirez, Yanier Nuñez, Pham Thi Nguyet Hang, Trinh Thi Diep.

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Slight decrease of hemoglobin and erythrocyte count was observed previously after subchronic oral dosing of Morinda citrifolia L leaves extract in rats. Induction of erythrocyte membrane damage could be the cause for these effects.
Aims: The objective of this investigation was to assess the in vitro cytotoxicity of Morinda citrifolia L leaves extract and fractions on rat erythrocytes.
Methods: Hemolytic damage was assayed in rat erythrocytes. Oxidative stress was assessed by measuring methemoglobin formation, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and enzyme antioxidant activities, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT).
Results: Morinda citrifolia L extract caused no hemolysis and induced oxidative damage to red cells in vitro. Methemoglobin increase was observed at concentration between 2 and 8 mg/ml of the extract. Lipid peroxidation was increased and CAT and SOD activities were depleted indicating a possible increase of hydrogen peroxide and superoxide radicals in erythrocytes. Ethyl acetate, dichloromethane and butanol fraction did not cause methemoglobin formation while water fraction increased methemoglobin level at doses up to 6 mg/ml.
Conclusions: We concluded that high doses of Morinda citrifolia L extract promote erythrocyte oxidative damage due to metabolites present in water fraction. These could be the cause of decreased erythrocyte and hemoglobin levels observed.

Key words: red blood cell toxicity, water extract, fractions, methemoglobin, lipid peroxidation

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