Background: Protease inhibitors have been isolated from plants and present several biological
activities, including immunomodulatory action.
Objective: This work aimed to evaluate a Moringa oleifera flower trypsin inhibitor (MoFTI) for
acute toxicity in mice, hemolytic activity on mice erythrocytes and immunomodulatory effects on
Methods: The acute toxicity was evaluated using Swiss female mice that received a single dose of
the vehicle control or MoFTI (300 mg/kg, i.p.). Behavioral alterations were observed 15–240 min
after administration, and survival, weight gain, and water and food consumption were analyzed daily.
Organ weights and hematological parameters were analyzed after 14 days. Hemolytic activity
of MoFTI was tested using Swiss female mice erythrocytes. Splenocytes obtained from BALB/c
mice were cultured in the absence or presence of MoFTI for the evaluation of cell viability and proliferation.
Mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels
were also determined. Furthermore, the culture supernatants were analyzed for the presence of cytokines
and nitric oxide (NO).
Results: MoFTI did not cause death or any adverse effects on the mice except for abdominal contortions
at 15–30 min after administration. MoFTI did not exhibit a significant hemolytic effect. In
addition, MoFTI did not induce apoptosis or necrosis in splenocytes and had no effect on cell proliferation.
Increases in cytosolic and mitochondrial ROS release, as well as Δψm reduction, were observed
in MoFTI-treated cells. MoFTI was observed to induce TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-10, and NO
Conclusion: These results contribute to the ongoing evaluation of the antitumor potential of
MoFTI and its effects on other immunological targets.