Maria Teresa Batista

University of Coimbra, Coímbra, Coimbra, Portugal

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Publications (40)88.11 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cymbopogon citratus (lemongrass) leaf infusion, a commonly used ingredient in Asian, African and Latin American cuisines, is also used in traditional medicine for the treatment of several pathological conditions; however, little is known about their bioactive compounds. Recent studies revealed the crucial role of the phenolic compounds namely flavonoids and tannins on the infusion bioactivity. Flavonoids have already been characterized; however the tannin fraction of lemongrass infusion is still uncharted. The aim of the present work is to characterize this fraction, and to evaluate its contribution to the antioxidant potential of this plant. Chemical characterization was achieved by HPLC-DAD-ESI/tandem MS and the antioxidant activity was evaluated using DPPH, ABTS and FRAP assays. Hetero-dimeric flavan structures have been described for the first time in lemongrass consisting of apigeniflavan or luteoliflavan units linked to a flavanone, either naringenin or eriodictyol, which may occur as aglycone or glycosylated forms. The antioxidant capacity of the fraction containing these compounds was significantly higher than the infusion, indicating its potential as a source of natural antioxidants.
    Food & Function 02/2015; 6(3). DOI:10.1039/c5fo00042d · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cymbopogon citratus (Cc), worldwide known as lemongrass, is a very important crop in the world, being bred in tropical countries. It is widely used for food and pharmaceutical industries, cosmetic and perfumery for its essential oil. Cc aqueous extracts are also commonly used in traditional medicine. They have high levels of polyphenols, which are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. From the essential oil hydrodistillation results an aqueous waste (CcHD), which is discarded. Therefore, a comparative study between CcHD and Cc infusion (CcI) was performed to characterize its phytochemical profile and to research its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential.
    Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 11/2014; DOI:10.1002/jsfa.6999 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fragaria vesca leaves have been used in folk medicine for the treatment of several diseases, namely gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and urinary disorders, which could be related with the potential anti-inflammatory properties of the extract. This work aims to disclose the bioactivity and the underlying action mechanism of an extract from Fragaria vesca leaves in order to support its traditional uses.
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2014.09.043 · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Flavonoids from lemongrass – Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf – leaves infusion, a commonly consumed beverage for the treatment of inflammatory-related conditions, were investigated in this work. Luteolin O-, C- and O,C-glycosides were isolated and identified by nuclear magnetic resonance, being the cassiaoccidentalin B structure fully characterized for the first time in lemongrass. The anti-inflammatory activity of luteolin and its glycosides was evaluated in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated macrophages. Luteolin glycosides demonstrated less cytotoxicity than luteolin itself. Although glycosylation decreases luteolin anti-inflammatory properties, being higher to C-glycosylation, an inhibitory effect on inflammatory mediator production (nitric oxide and IL-1β) was verified for the luteolin 7-O-β-glucopyranoside, without cytotoxic effects. Therefore, luteolin glycosides from lemongrass infusion are evidenced as a less toxic alternative to current anti-inflammatory drugs with promising use in pharmaceutical and food supplement industries. Additionally, this work establishes structure–activity relationships, which constitutes valuable information in the design of anti-inflammatory luteolin glycosides devoid of toxicity.
    Journal of Functional Foods 09/2014; 10:436–443. DOI:10.1016/j.jff.2014.07.003 · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology is strongly associated with the activation of inflammatory pathways, and long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs reduces the risk of developing the disease. In S. Tomé e Príncipe (STP), several medicinal plants are used both for their positive effects in the nervous system (treatment of mental disorders, analgesics) and their anti-inflammatory properties. The goal of this study was to determine whether a phenotypic, cell-based screening approach can be applied to selected plants from STP (Voacanga africana, Tarenna nitiduloides, Sacosperma paniculatum, Psychotria principensis, Psychotria subobliqua) in order to identify natural compounds with multiple biological activities of interest for AD therapeutics.
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology 06/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2014.06.046 · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Significant advances have been achieved during the past decade concerning the metabolism of polyphenol compounds in vitro, but scarce data has been presented about what really happens in vivo. Many studies on poly phenols to date have focused on the bioactivity of one specific molecule in aglycone form, often at supraphysiological doses, whereas foods contain complex, often poorly characterized mixtures with multiple additive or interfering activities. Whereas most studies up to the middle-late 1990s measured total aglycones in plasma and urine, after chemical or enzymatic deconjugation, or both, several recent works now report the polyphenol conjugate composition of plasma, urine, feces and/or tissues, after the administration of pure polyphenols or polyphenol-rich matrices. HPLC methods with electrochemical, mass spectrometric and fluorescence detection have adequate sensitivity. LC/UV-Vis methods have also been widely reported, but they are much less sensitive. Compared with electro-chemical and fluorescence detection, MS detection can quantify analytes without chromatographic separation, which leads to high throughput, presenting itself as the best choice to date. Regarding the experimental model to monitor the bioavailability of phenolic compounds, most published studies are based on human and animal models, with the majority using rodents, primates and recently Caenorhabditis elegans. This review focuses on the fundamentals of pharmacokinetic methods from the last 15 years and how the results are evaluated and validated. The types of analytical methods, animal models and biological matrices were used to better elucidate polyphenols pharmacokinetics.
    Current Drug Metabolism 12/2013; DOI:10.2174/1389200214666131211155028 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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  • Planta Medica 08/2013; 79(13). DOI:10.1055/s-0033-1352234 · 2.34 Impact Factor
  • Planta Medica 08/2013; 79(13). DOI:10.1055/s-0033-1352213 · 2.34 Impact Factor
  • Planta Medica 08/2013; 79(13). DOI:10.1055/s-0033-1352214 · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Propolis is a bee product with numerous biological and pharmacological properties, such as immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activities. It has been used in folk medicine as a healthy drink and in food to improve health and prevent inflammatory diseases. However, little is known about its mechanism of action. Thus, the goal of this study was to verify the antioxidant activity and to explore the anti-inflammatory properties of propolis by addressing its intracellular mechanism of action. Caffeic acid was investigated as a possible compound responsible for propolis action. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The antioxidant properties of propolis and caffeic acid were evaluated by using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical (DPPH) scavenging method. To analyze the anti-inflammatory activity, Raw 264.7 macrophages were treated with different concentrations of propolis or caffeic acid, and nitric oxide (NO) production, a strong pro-inflammatory mediator, was evaluated by the Griess reaction. The concentrations of propolis and caffeic acid that inhibited NO production were evaluated on intracellular signaling pathways triggered during inflammation, namely p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK1/2), the transcription nuclear factor (NF)-κB and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2), through Western blot using specific antibodies. A possible effect of propolis on the cytotoxicity of hepatocytes was also evaluated, since this product can be used in human diets. RESULTS: Caffeic acid showed a higher antioxidant activity than propolis extract. Propolis and caffeic acid inhibited NO production in macrophages, at concentrations without cytotoxicity. Furthermore, both propolis and caffeic acid suppressed LPS-induced signaling pathways, namely p38 MAPK, JNK1/2 and NF-κB. ERK1/2 was not affected by propolis extract and caffeic acid. In addition, propolis and caffeic acid did not induce hepatotoxicity at concentrations with strong anti-inflammatory potential. CONCLUSIONS: Propolis exerted an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action and caffeic acid may be involved in its inhibitory effects on NO production and intracellular signaling cascades, suggesting its use as a natural source of safe anti-inflammatory drugs.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 06/2013; 149(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.004 · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf leaves infusion is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory conditions, however little is known about their bio-active compounds. AIM OF THE STUDY: Investigate the compounds responsible for anti-inflammatory potential of Cymbopogon citratus (Cy) on cytokines production induced by lipopolysaccharide in human and mouse macrophages, and the action mechanisms involved. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An essential oil-free infusion of Cy was prepared and polyphenol-rich fractions (PFs) were obtained from it by column chromatography. Chlorogenic acid was identified, by HPLC/PDA/ESI-MS(n). The expression of cytokines, namely TNF-α and CCL5, was analyzed by real-time RT-PCR, on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated human macrophages. Activation of nuclear factor-κB, a master regulator of inflammation, was investigated by Western blot and gene reporter assay. Proteasome activity was assessed using a fluorogenic peptide. RESULTS: Cymbopogon citratus extract and its polyphenols inhibited the cytokine production on human macrophages. This supports the anti-inflammatory activity of Cy polyphenols in physiologically relevant cells. Concerning the effect on the activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB pathway, the results pointed to an inhibition of LPS-induced NF-κB activation by Cy and PFs. Chlorogenic acid was identified, by HPLC/PDA/ESI-MS(n), as the main phenolic acid of the Cy infusion, and it demonstrated to be, at least in part, responsible by that effect. Additionally, it was verified for the first time, that Cy and PFs inhibited the proteasome activity, a complex that controls NF-κB activation, having CGA a strong contribution. CONCLUSIONS: The results evidenced, for the first time, the anti-inflammatory properties of Cymbopogon citratus through proteasome inhibition and, consequently NF-κB pathway and cytokine expression. Additionally, Cy polyphenols, in particular chlorogenic acid, were highlighted as bio-active compounds.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 04/2013; 148(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2013.03.077 · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Export Date: 18 October 2014
    Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease, 01/2013: pages 373-392;
  • III CEF Conference; 09/2012
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    ABSTRACT: Essential oils are known to possess antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of bacteria and fungi. In the present work the composition and the antifungal activity of the oils of Juniperus communis subsp. alpina (Suter) Čelak were evaluated. Moreover, the skin cytotoxicity, at concentrations showing significant antifungal activity, was also evaluated. The oils were isolated by hydrodistillation and analysed by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal lethal concentration (MLC) were used to evaluate the antifungal activity of the oil against dermatophytes (Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum canis, M. gypseum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale, T. rubrum, T. verrucosum), yeasts (Candida albicans, C. guillermondii, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, Cryptococcus neoformans) and Aspergillus species (Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger). Cytotoxicity was tested in HaCaT keratinocytes through the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Essential oil of J. communis subsp. alpina needles was predominantly composed of monoterpene hydrocarbons (78.4%), with the main compounds being sabinene (26.2%), α-pinene (12-9%) and limonene (10.4%). Results concerning the antifungal activity demonstrated the potential of needle oil against dermatophytes, particularly for Microsporum canis and Trichophyton rubrum with MIC and MLC of 0.32 μL/mL. Furthermore, evaluation of cell viability showed no significant cytotoxicity in HaCaT keratinocytes at concentrations between 0.32 and 0.64 μL/mL. These results show that it is possible to find appropriate doses of J. communis subsp. alpina oil with both antifungal activity and a very low detrimental effect on keratinocytes. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Phytotherapy Research 09/2012; 26(9):1352-7. DOI:10.1002/ptr.3730 · 2.40 Impact Factor
  • Planta Medica 07/2012; 78(11). DOI:10.1055/s-0032-1320366 · 2.34 Impact Factor
  • Planta Medica 07/2012; 78(11). DOI:10.1055/s-0032-1320365 · 2.34 Impact Factor
  • Planta Medica 07/2012; 78(11). DOI:10.1055/s-0032-1320367 · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Extensive research within the last two decades revealed that most chronic illnesses, including cancer, neurological, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases are mediated through chronic inflammation. Thus, suppressing chronic inflammation has the potential to delay, prevent, and treat those diseases. However, side effects and high costs of current anti-inflammatory drugs force the development of new drugs. Natural products represent an important source of new bioactive compounds. Among them, phenolic compounds, which are widely distributed in plants, have been described as having many therapeutic effects. Several reviews have addressed the anti-inflammatory activity of phenols, attributing their properties not only to the antioxidant capacity, but also to inflammatory mediators' modulation, namely cytokines and pro-inflammatory proteins, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2. Signal transduction pathways precede changes in inflammatory mediators' expression. However, only a restricted number of studies have addressed the effect of phenols on a specific signal transduction pathway. The present review attempts to summarize and highlight a broad range of inflammation-associated signaling pathways modulated by phenols namely: nuclear factor (NF)-κB, activator protein (AP)-1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) transcription factors; mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs); protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs); tyrosine phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and ubiquitin-proteasome system. As a consequence of phenols effect on signaling pathways, described above, their action on inflammatory mediators' production is mentioned. Finally, it is established that the structure-activity relationships of phenolic compounds are a valuable information source on the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs from natural products.
    Current Medicinal Chemistry 04/2012; 19(18):2876-900. DOI:10.2174/092986712800672049 · 3.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) is at present the fourth most common nosocomial pathogen, causing a wide variety of serious infections on compromised hosts and is characterized by an intrinsic resistance to various antimicrobial agents and for the ability to easily develop multi-drug resistance (MDR) under antibiotic pressure. Metallo-beta-lactamases (MBLs) confer a MDR profile to the bacteria that present them, since they hydrolyse all beta-lactams, except aztreonam. At present, there is no available inhibitor of MBLs, which augments the risk of infections caused by MBLs producing bacteria. Some polyphenols are generally recognised as quite potent antibiotics. The aim of this study was to challenge clinical isolates of MBL VIM-2 producers PA with an extract and polyphenol-rich fractions from strawberry (Fragaria vesca) leaves, in order to screen for antimicrobial activity, with the intent to find possible future therapeutic alternatives to treat MBL producing PA infections. Methods Fragaria vesca leaves (Fv) were extracted with ethanol (EtOH) and 50% aqueous EtOH. Three fractions from that crude extract were obtained on a Sephadex® LH-20 column by elution with 50% and 75% aqueous methanol (Fa and Fb, respectively) and 70% aqueous acetone (Fc). Fifteen MBL VIM-2 producers PA clinical isolates were used. Standard microplate assays were performed to determine MICs of extract (0.78 to 50 mg/ml) and fractions (0.39 to 25 mg/ml). Results Crude extract presented MIC50=10.35 mg/ml and MIC90=20.7 mg/ml. Fraction Fa presented MIC50 and MIC90 of 25 mg/ml; fraction Fb presented MIC50=6.25 mg/ml and MIC90=12.5 mg/ml; fraction Fc presented MIC50 and MIC90 of 12.5 mg/ml. The more active fraction was fraction Fb, essentially constituted by tannins: proanthocyanidins and ellagitannins. Curiously, an exacerbation of the pigment in all isolates was detected with this fraction. Conclusion A fraction of a crude extract obtained from Fragaria vesca leaves presented an interesting activity against MBL VIM-2 producers PA clinical isolates. One or more polyphenols of this fraction can constitute a significant potential for the development of novel antibacterial therapies against these bacteria. Further studies are required to address this possibility. For an approach to antimicrobial efficacy, MDR clinical isolates should be used and not only ATCC strains, since they represent more accurately the pathovars of the species, which confers higher interest to the obtained results.
    22nd European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, London, United Kingdom; 04/2012