Picroliv, picroside-I and kutkoside from Picrorhiza kurrooa are scavengers of superoxide anions.


Chander R, Kapoor NK, Dhawan BN




Biochem Pharmacol


Picroliv, the active principle of Picrorhiza kurrooa, and its main components which are a mixture of the iridoid glycosides, picroside-I and kutkoside, were studied in vitro as potential scavengers of oxygen free radicals. The superoxide (O2-) anions generated in a xanthine-xanthine oxidase system, as measured in terms of uric acid formed and the reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium were shown to be suppressed by picroliv, picroside-I and kutkoside. Picroliv as well as both glycosides inhibited the non-enzymic generation of O2- anions in a phenazine methosulphate NADH system. Malonaldehyde (MDA) generation in rat liver microsomes as stimulated by both the ascorbate-Fe2+ and NADPH-ADP-Fe2+ systems was shown to be inhibited by the Picroliv glycosides. Known antioxidants tocopherol (vitamin E) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) were also compared with regard to their antioxidant actions in the above system. It was found that BHA afforded protection against ascorbate-Fe(2+)-induced MDA formation in microsomes but did not interfere with enzymic or non-enzymic O2- anion generation; and tocopherol inhibited lipid peroxidation in microsomes by both prooxidant systems and the generation of O2- anions in the non-enzymic system but did not interfere with xanthine oxidase activity. The present study shows that picroliv, picroside-I and kutkoside possess the properties of antioxidants which appear to be mediated through activity like that of superoxide dismutase, metal ion chelators and xanthine oxidase inhibitors.