Cytotoxicity effect of alkaloidal extract from Prosopis juliflora Sw. D.C. (Algaroba) pods on glial cells
AbstractProsopis juliflora is largely used for feeding cattle and humans. Neurological signals have been reported in cattle due to intoxication with this plant. In this study, an alkaloidal fraction (AF) obtained from P. juliflora pods was tested on astrocyte primary cultures. Astrocytes display physiological functions essential to development, homeostasis and detoxification in the central nervous system (CNS). These cells are known for their role on energetic support and immune response in the CNS. Concentrations between 0.03 to 30 µg/ml AF were assayed for 24 - 72 h. The mitochondrial activity, assayed by MTT test, showed cytotoxicity at 30 µg/ml AF after 24 h. At concentrations ranging between 0.3 - 3 µg/ml, the AF induced an increase on mitochondrial activity, indicating cell reactivity. Immunocytochemistry assay for GFAP cytoskeletal protein, revealed alterations on cell morphology after treatment with 0.3 - 3 µg/ml AF for 72 h. This result corroborates with western blot analysis when cells treated with 0.3 - 3 µg/ml AF for 72 h showed GFAP upregulation. The vimentin expression was not significantly altered in all tested concentrations. These results suggest that alkaloids induce astrocyte reactivity and might be involved in the neurotoxic effects induced by P. juliflora consumption.
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