BMC complementary and alternative medicine 2016 Oct 2616(1) 422
Bursera copallifera (Burseraceae) releases a resin known as "copal ancho" which has been used, since pre-Colombian times, as ceremonially burned incense and to treat tooth ache, tumors, arthritis, cold, cough, and various inflammatory conditions; however, its anti-inflammatory potential is poorly studied. The aim of the present study was to isolate, quantify, and to investigate the anti-inflammatory activity of triterpene compounds isolated from the copal resin of B. copallifera.
The constituents present in the total resin of B. copallifera were obtained by successive chromatographic procedures, and quantitative analysis was performed by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Anti-inflammatory effects of the isolated triterpenes were investigated to determine their inhibitory effects on phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced edema in mice, viability and nitric oxide (NO) production inhibition on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages, and inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1, COX-2 and secretory Phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) activities in vitro.
Quantitative phytochemical analysis of the copal resin showed the presence of six pentacyclic triterpenes of which, 3-epilupeol (59.75 % yield) and α-amyrin (21.1 % yield) are the most abundant. Among the isolated triterpenes, 3-epilupeol formiate (Inhibitory Concentration 50 % (IC50) = 0.96 μmol), α.amyrin acetate (IC50 = 1.17 μmol), lupenone (IC50 = 1.05 μmol), and 3-epilupeol (IC50 = 0.83 μmol) showed marked inhibition of the edema induced by TPA in mice. α-amyrin acetate and 3-epilupeol acetate, at 70 μM, also inhibited the activity of COX-2 by 62.85 and 73.28 % respectively, while α-amyrin and 3-epilupeol were the best inhibitors of the production of NO in LPS-activated RAW 264.7 cells with IC50 values of 15.5 and 8.98 μM respectively, and did not affected its viability. All compounds moderately inhibited the activity of PLA2.
This work supports the folk use of B. copallifera and provides the basis for future investigations about the therapeutic use of this resin in treating inflammation.