Background: Inflammation and pain, mainly induced by the prostaglandins synthesized by the cyclooxygenase enzymes, may cause distress. To overcome this unpleasant stress in a safer manner, numerous natural molecules are proven for modulating the COX enzymes. Epicatechin and daidzein are two bioactive natural compounds present in horsegram, a legume known for its medicinal properties.
Objective: The present study aims at evaluating the potential of horsegram, and some of its bioactive molecules, to be used as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent mediated by the inhibition of COX enzymes, which can be recommended as a substitute for chemically synthesized NSAIDs.
Methods: The present work involved the quantification of epicatechin and daidzein present in horsegram seeds. The COX enzyme inhibitory nature of epicatechin and daidzein was tested using in silico docking analysis with Autodock software and was further confirmed by in vitro COX inhibitory biochemical assays. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of the horsegram seeds were evaluated in animal experiments.
Results: Horsegram seeds contain 158.1 microgram/g and 6.51 microgram/g of epicatechin and daidzein respectively. The docking studies reveal that both the bioactive molecules exhibit better binding efficiency with COX-2 protein as compared to COX-1. Hence, in vitro COX-2 inhibitory assay was performed for epicatechin, daidzein and compared with known analgesic agent diclofenac which revealed a pronounced dose dependent inhibitory activity. Furthermore, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of horsegram in experimental animals exhibited a dose dependent effect which might be due to the presence of the bioactive compounds such as epicatechin and daidzein.
Conclusion: The results suggest that epicatechin and daidzein present in horsegram are potent cyclooxygenase inhibitors and thus would be helpful in the management of inflammation and pain.
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