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Abstract

This study examined the antinociceptive effect of Bauhinia microstachya (Leguminosae), a native plant widely distributed in the South of Brazil, in several chemical and mechanical models of pain. The methanolic extract (ME) from B. microstachya (3–30 mg kg−1, i.p.) and the isolated compound quercitrin (1–10 mg kg−1, i.p.), given 30 min earlier, produced a dose-dependent inhibition of acetic-acid-induced visceral pain in mice, with a mean ID50 value (dose necessary to reduce the nociceptive response by 50% relative to the control value) of 7.9 and 2.4 mg kg−1, respectively. The ME of B. microstachya (3–100 mg kg−1, i.p., 30 min earlier) also caused a dose-dependent inhibition of capsaicin-induced pain, with a mean ID50 value of 18.8 mg kg−1. Moreover, the ME (3–100 mg kg−1, i.p., 30 min earlier) produced marked inhibition of both phases of formalin-induced pain, with mean ID50 values for the neurogenic and the inflammatory phases of 30.3 and 17.2 mg kg−1, respectively. In addition, the ME of B. microstachya (3–300 mg kg −1, i.p., 30 min earlier) inhibited, in a graded manner, the hyperalgesia induced by bradykinin (3.2 μg/paw), substance P (13.5 μg/paw), carrageenan (300 μg/paw), capsaicin (100 μg/paw) and adrenaline (100ng/paw) in the rat paw, with mean ID50 values of 20.5, 17.9, 101.8, 54.2 and 99.7 mg kg−1, respectively. Taken together, these data demonstrate that ME of B. microstachya elicited a pronounced antinociceptive action against several chemical and mechanical models of pain in mice and rats. The precise mechanism responsible for the antinociceptive effect of the extract still remains unclear, but seems to be partly related to modulation of the release or action of pro-inflammatory mediators involved in the models of pain used. Finally, the flavonoid quercitrin isolated from this plant appears to contribute for the antinociceptive property of the methanolic extract.