In the Amazon rainforest, the shamans of the Mayantuyacu site use the healing virtues of decoctions and teas from different parts of the Couroupita guianensis Aubl. (Lecythidaceae) trees as remedies in Ashaninka medicine. However, the composition of the remedy and the underlying mechanism remain unclear. This study was designed to compare the metabolite profile of Couroupita guianensis bark decoction produced by Amazonian shamans with that obtained under standardised laboratory conditions and to investigate the biological properties of both decoction and isolated constituents in the skin wound healing process and inflammation. UHPLC-UV-HRMS analysis revealed the occurrence of polyphenolic compounds as catechins, ellagitannins and, notably, of unusual sulphated derivatives of ellagic acid isolated for the first time from Couroupita guianensis bark. A new natural sulphated molecule [4-(2″-O-sulphate- β-D-glucuronopyranosyl) ellagic acid] was identified as the potential active compound responsible for the efficacy of bark decoction stimulating wound healing in human HaCaT keratinocytes. The molecular mechanism involved the induction of pro-migratory pathways mediated by ERK and AKT phosphorylation and increased MMP2 expression in HaCaT cells. At the same time, the treatment inhibited inflammation interfering with NFkB activation. Beyond identifying a new bioactive compound, the overall results scientifically validate the traditional use of Couroupita guianensis bark decoction as an anti-inflammatory remedy. Moreover, the beneficial effects on keratinocytes suggest promising therapeutic applications in skin diseases.
Year of publication: 2023
Authors: Esposito, T., Pisanti, S., Martinelli, R., Celano, R., Mencherini, T., Re, T., & Aquino, R. P.
Type: Article –Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 313, 116579.