The anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activity of betulinic acid (BA) was investigated in this study. The triterpene was
isolated from the ethyl acetate extract of Tetracera potatoria
and its structure was verified by IR and NMR spectroscopy. The bioactivity of this
compound was assessed using carrageenan-induced paw oedema in rats and carrageenan-induced pulmonary oedema in mice for the anti-inflammatory
activity, while acetic acid-induced writhing test in mice and zymosan-induced fever in rats were used for analgesic test.
Materials and Methods:
Rats and mice were randomly divided into groups of five animals. For each experiment, betulinic acid at 10, 20 or
40mg/kg b.w was administered intraperitoneally to the first three groups respectively. The fourth group was administered with indomethacin
(10mg/kg) or acetylsalicylic acid (150mg/kg), while the fifth group was administered with distilled water (10ml/kg). Data obtained were
expressed as mean±S.E.M and significant differences were determined at p<0.05.
BA significantly reduced carrageenan-induced paw oedema by 11.0%, 45.7%, 68.6% or pulmonary oedema by 25.6, 29.2 and 45.13%
dose dependently. 40 mg/kg of BA inhibited paw oedema by 68.6% comparably to acetylsalicylic acid (71.4%) or indomethacin (51.33%)
respectively. Abdominal writhing was also significantly (p<0.05) reduced to 17.20 writhes by BA (40mg/kg) comparable to Indomethacin
(16.3 writhes). Fever was inhibited by BA most significantly by 3 hours post-injection of zymosan (1.00, 1.45, 0.000
C) and this inhibitory effect
was higher than that observed for acetylsalicylic acid (0.300
Betulinic acid derived from Tetracera potatoria
exhibited potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic or antipyrexic activity which is
comparable to indomethacin or acetylsalicyclic acid.