Assessment of the safety of maslinic acid, a bioactive compound from Olea europaea L.
Correspondence: Professor Joana M. Planas, Departament de Fisiologia, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Av. Joan XXIII s/núm, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Maslinic acid, the main pentacyclic triterpene of the cuticle of Olea europaea L. fruit, has multiple beneficial effects on health, most notably antitumor and hypoglycemic properties. Notwithstanding the biological activities, there is a lack of knowledge about its safety. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate whether high doses of maslinic acid have harmful effects on Swiss CD-1 male mice.
Methods and results
The single oral administration of the pentacyclic triterpene at 1000 mg/kg to mice did not produce any signs of morbidity or mortality. The repeated daily oral administration of 50 mg/kg of maslinic acid for 28 days did not induce any sign of toxicity during the experimental period. Body weight did not differ between mice that received the triterpene and the control group. Similarly, hematological and biochemical variables were not affected by the treatment. Histopathologic examination of the organs revealed that there were no differences between the control and the treated mice.
Taken together the results obtained from the acute and the repeated intake of maslinic acid indicate that the compound does not exert any adverse effects on the variables tested in mice, thus suggesting a sufficient margin of safety for its putative use as a nutraceutical.