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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 14, 2016

Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory potentials of kolaviron: mechanisms of action

  • Samuel A. Onasanwo EMAIL logo and Rume A. Rotu


Background: Major attention has been on dietary and medicinal phytochemicals that inhibit or reverse abnormal conditions caused by nociceptive and inflammatory stimuli. Garcinia kola (Guttiferae) seed, known as “bitter kola”, plays an important role in African ethno-medicine and traditional hospitality like in the treatment of inflammation, colds, bronchitis, bacterial, and viral infections. A number of useful phytochemicals have been isolated from the seed, and the most prominent of them is kolaviron (Garcinia bioflavonoid), which has been suggested to have antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory potentials. The aim of this experiment is to explore the mechanisms of action of the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory potentials of kolaviron.

Methods: The probable mechanisms of action of kolaviron were assessed by using naloxone, prazosin, and atropine to investigate the involvement of adrenergic, opioidergic, and cholinergic systems, respectively, using tail flick, the acetic acid-induced writhing, formalin-induced paw licking, and carrageenan-induced paw edema models. Also, hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining was used to analyze the level of inflammation.

Results: In the acetic acid-induced writhing test in mice, pretreatment with naloxone, prazosin, and atropine significantly reversed the antinociception effects of kolaviron (200 mg/kg) when compared with control and kolaviron groups. In the formalin-induced paw licking test in mice, there was a significant decrease on the antinociceptive effects of kolaviron in the late phase when compared with the control, while the pretreatment with naloxone and prazosin significantly reversed the antinociception of kolaviron but atropine did not have any significant decrease when compared with the kolaviron group. In the tail flick latency assay in rats, pretreatment with naloxone and prazosin significantly reversed the antinociception of kolaviron but atropine; however, did not have any significant increase when compared with the control and kolaviron groups. The result of the study also shows a highly significant inhibition of paw edema in the carrageenan-induced receiving kolaviron when compared with the vehicle carrageenan-induced groups. Histological staining also showed that kolaviron significantly reduced the infiltration of inflammatory cells in the paw tissues.

Conclusions: Kolaviron possesses antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity, both centrally and peripherally, which justifies its folkloric use to relieve pain and inflammation. It may be exerting its effects through mechanisms that involve opioidergic and adrenergic systems, and may not involve the cholinergic system.

Corresponding author: Dr. Samuel A. Onasanwo, PhD, Neurosciences and Oral Physiology Unit, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, Phone: +2348060711936, E-mail: ;


The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to Mr. Yomi Ajayi of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the ORG members of the Physiology Department, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, for some technical and laboratory assistance.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2015-6-27
Accepted: 2015-11-6
Published Online: 2016-1-14
Published in Print: 2016-6-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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