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Polyalthia cerasoides wood and roots have been traditionally used for its antipyretic and anti-inflammatory activities. Several studies showed that the extracts from stem bark of P. cerasoides have biological effects including antimalarial and anti-inflammatory activities. The present study was aimed to investigate antioxidant property, cytotoxicity and cytoprotective activity of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of P. cerasoides branches and leaves. Methods: Ethanol and water extract of P. cerasoides branches and leaves were examined for antioxidative activity in vitro by a DPPH radical scavenging assay. Total phenolic and flavonoid contents of the extracts were determined. The cytotoxicity test and cytoprotective activity against hydrogen peroxide induced cell death were performed in HepG2 cells and evaluated by MTT assay. Results: In DPPH assay, the ethanolic and aqueous extracts from P. cerasoides branch showed superior scavenging effect, with the highest activity from 80% ethanolic extract, whereas the leaf extracts showed weak activity. The antioxidative activity was also positively associated with the total phenolic and flavonoid contents of the extract. The cytotoxicity results revealed that aqueous extract of P. cerasoides branch was not toxic to HepG2 cells even at a high concentration. However, percentage cell viability of HepG2 cells decreased to less than 50% when the cells were treated with 1000 µg/mL ethanolic branch extract. Furthermore, P. cerasoides aqueous branch extract as well as silymarin, a standard hepatoprotective agent, exhibited protective effect against oxidative damage induced by hydrogen peroxide in HepG2 cells. Conclusion: These results suggested that the aqueous branch extracts of P. cerasoides may be useful as a natural source of potential antioxidant and may provide the novel source for the treatment of diseases associated with oxidative stress.
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