Peumus boldus attenuates copper-induced toxicity in Drosophila melanogaster

Cláudia Vargas Klimaczewski, Assis Ecker, Bruna Piccoli, Michael Aschner, Nilda Vargas Barbosa, João Batista Teixeira Rocha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Peumus boldus (P. boldus) is a medicinal plant popularly used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. P. boldus aqueous extract is rich in phenolic compounds and alkaloids that possess antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects. In the present study, the potential protective effect of P. boldus against Cu2+-induced toxicity was investigated. Adult Drosophila melanogaster were exposed to Cu2+ (1 mM and 3 mM) and/or P. boldus aqueous extract (5 mg/mL) in the food during 4 days. Cu2+-fed flies had impairment in the negative geotaxis performance (i.e. motor climbing capability) as well as a higher incidence of mortality when compared to the control group. P. boldus co-treatment afforded protection against the Cu2+-induced toxicity. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity decreased significantly in D. melanogaster after Cu2+ exposure. P. boldus co-exposure for 4 days restored enzyme activities to control levels. In addition, Cu2+ exposure caused a significant increase in the mRNA levels of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (Sod1), catalase (Cat), thioredoxin reductase (TrxR1) and nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2), as well as increased the mRNA levels of acetylcholinesterase (Ace). The expression of P-type ATPase (Atp7A) and copper uptake protein 1 (Ctr1A) mRNAs were up-regulated in D. melanogaster exposed to Cu2+. The co-treatment with P. boldus blunted Cu2+-induced up-regulation of Atp7A and down-regulated Ctr1A mRNA expression. These findings suggest that P. boldus extracts reduce Cu2+-induced toxicity but not Cu2+ absorption in D. melanogaster. Consequently, P. boldus can be a potential therapeutical alternative for modulating Cu2+-associated toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Copper
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Oxidative stress
  • Peumus boldus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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