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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2018, Article ID 2678089, 6 pages
Research Article

Clarified Açaí (Euterpe oleracea) Juice as an Anticonvulsant Agent: In Vitro Mechanistic Study of GABAergic Targets

1Departament of Neurochemistry and Neuropharmacology, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques de Barcelona (IIBB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), IDIBAPS, CIBERESP, Barcelona, Spain
2Laboratório de Farmacologia Molecular, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil
3Departamento de Bioquímica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
4College of Food Engineering and Centre for the Valorization of Bioactive Compounds from Amazonia, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil
5Laboratório de Pesquisa em Fármacos, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Amapá, Macapá, AP, Brazil

Correspondence should be addressed to Cristina Suñol; se.cisc.bbii@loynus.anitsirc and Maria Elena Crespo-López; moc.liamg@zepol.opserc.anele.airam

Received 23 November 2017; Accepted 7 February 2018; Published 20 March 2018

Academic Editor: Manuela Curcio

Copyright © 2018 Gabriela P. F. Arrifano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Seizures affect about 50 million people around the world. Approximately 30% of seizures are refractory to the current pharmacological arsenal, so, the pursuit of new therapeutic alternatives is essential. Clarified Euterpe oleracea (EO) juice showed anticonvulsant properties similar to diazepam in an in vivo model with pentylenetetrazol, a GABAA receptor blocker. This study investigated the effects of EO on the main GABAergic targets for anticonvulsant drugs, analyzing the effect on the GABA receptor’s benzodiazepine and picrotoxinin binding sites and the GABA uptake. Primary cultures of cortical neurons and astrocytes were treated with EO (0–25%) for up to 90 min. [3H]Flunitrazepam and [3H]TBOB binding, [3H]GABA uptake, cell viability, and morphology were assayed. Nonlethal concentrations of EO increased agonist binding and decreased antagonist binding in cortical neurons. Low concentrations significantly inhibited GABA uptake, especially in astrocytes, suggesting an accumulation of endogenous GABA in the synaptic cleft. The results demonstrate, for the first time, that EO can improve GABAergic neurotransmission via interactions with GABAA receptor and modulation of GABA uptake. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will help in the treatment of seizures and epilepsy, especially in developing countries where geographic isolation and low purchasing power are the main barriers to access to adequate treatment.