Background Snakebite is considered a neglected tropical disease by the World Health Organization. In Brazil, about 70% of the envenomation cases are caused by Bothrops snakes. Its venom may provoke hemorrhage, pain, necrosis, hemolysis, renal or cardiac failure and even death in victims. Since commercial antivenom does not efficiently neutralize the local toxic effects of venoms, natural products have been tested in order to provide alternative or complementary treatment to serum therapy. Therefore, the present study aimed to evaluate the ability of the seaweed Plocamium brasiliense and its active derivatives to neutralize hemorrhagic, edematogenic, hemolytic, coagulant and proteolytic activities of B. jararaca venom. Methods Specimens of P. brasiliense were collected in Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, dried and submitted to oil extraction using four solvents of increasing polarities, n-hexane (HEX), dichloromethane (DCM), ethyl acetate (ETA) and hydroalcoholic solution (HYD). The solvents were evaporated, yielding HEX, DCM, ETA and HYD extracts. Further, all extracts were dissolved in dimethylsulfoxide. In addition, two monoterpenes (8-bromo-3,4,7-trichloro-3,7-dimethyl-1E, 5E-octadiene and 1,8-dibromo-3,4,7-trichloro-3,7-dimethyl-1E, 5E-octadiene) and a cholesterol fraction were isolated from the extract of P. brasiliense prepared in hexane. Algal samples were incubated for 30 minutes with B. jararaca venom, and then tested for lethality; hemorrhagic, edematogenic, hemolytic, coagulant and proteolytic effects. Results Most of the algal extracts inhibited the toxic effects with different potencies. The DCM extract was the most effective, since it inhibited all types of toxic activity. On the other hand, the HYD extract failed to inhibit any effect. Moreover, the isolated products inhibited proteolysis and protected mice from hemorrhage in 30% of the cases, whereas 8-bromo-3,4,7-trichloro-3,7-dimethyl-1E, 5E-octadiene inhibited 100% and 20% of the hemorrhagic and proteolytic activities, respectively. None of the algal products were toxic to mice. Conclusion Seaweeds may be a promising source of inhibitors against toxic effects caused by B. jararacaenvenomation, which may contribute to antivenom treatment.
Four extracts from the marine red alga Plocamium brasiliense (Greville) M.A.Howe & W.R.Taylor were prepared to identify and characterize their potential allelopathic effects on seed germination, radicle elongation and hypocotyl development of the weeds Mimosa pudica L. and Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwin & Barneby. The four extracts were prepared in a sequence of solvents of increasing polarity: n-hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and ethanol/water (7:3). The germination bioassay was carried out at 25 °C with a 12 h photoperiod and the radicle elongation and hypocotyl development at 25 °C with a 24 h photoperiod. The dichloromethane extract showed inhibitory effects on seed germination of both plants (35 and 14%, respectively, in M. pudica and S. obtusifolia), radical germination (52 and 41.7%, respectively) and hypocotyl development (17.1 and 25.5%, respectively). Given the high sensitivity of this parameter to the potential allelopathic effects and the insufficient number of references found in the literature, these results are expected to stimulate new tests with other species of marine algae. Given the high sensitivity of the method for the detection of allelopathic potential, the species P. brasiliense emerges as a possible source of allelopathic substances against weed species. The results are attributed to the chemical composition, especially in relation to the presence of halogenated monoterpenes.