|dc.description.abstract||The present study investigated pharmacological properties of Capsicum frutescens-derived capsaicin, including its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and coagulatory properties. The effects of capsaicin on gastrointestinal and myocardial muscles, as well as on myocardial ischaemic-reperfusion, were also investigated.
Capsaicin pre-treatment in neonatal rats has been found to abolish the development of thermal hyperalgesia produced in a model of neuropathic pain in rats (Toth-Kasa et al., 1986). In addition, capsaicin sensitivity has been found to be dependent on continued presence of nerve growth factor (NGF), whose concentration increases in inflamed tissues (Bevan and Winter, 1995). By stimulating the release of excitatory amino acids (EAA); such as glutamate and neuropeptides [(CGRP, neurokinin A (NKA) and Substance P (SP)] from both the peripheral and central terminals of sensory neurones by two mechanisms (Kroll et al., 1990; Del Bianco et al., 1991; Lou et al., 1992; 1994; Woolf et al., 1994); capsaicin has been shown to produce a longer-term inhibitory effect. This is one likely mechanism for capsaicin analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions (Bleakman et al., 1990).
Within the gastro-intestinal tract, SP and NKA are involved in the physiological control of several digestive functions, such as motility, fluid and electrolyte secretion, blood flow, and tissue homeostasis (Otsuka, 1993; Holzer et al., 1997). Consistent with this finding, upsurge of SP in irritable bowel syndrome (IBD) was confirmed by Mantyh et al, (1988). Pre-treatment of rats with either capsaicin or NK-1R antagonists dramatically reduced fluid secretion, mucosal permeability, and intestinal inflammation in animal models of acute and chronic inflammation (McCafferty et al, 1994; Pothoulakis et al., 1994).
Capsaicin can modulate endocrine and paracrine activities, immune responses, as well as gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular functions. Moreover, up-regulation of Substance P receptors was found to be associated with chronic inflammatory conditions (De et al., 1990). Stimulation of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 also results in the activation of nociceptive and neurogenic inflammatory responses (Rigoni et al., 2003).
The pharmacodynamic effects of capsaicin on the cardiovascular system remain elusive. Some actions of capsaicin on the heart were attributed to an interaction at K+ channels (Castle, 1992), or liberation of neuropeptides, most notably calcitonin-gene-related-peptide (CGRP) from the vanilloid-sensitive innervation of the heart (Franco-Cereceda et al., 1988; 1991). The possibility of a direct effect of capsaicin on the heart via a cardiac vanilloid receptor (VR), or through interaction of vanilloid receptors with purinergic receptors, and subsequent release of nitric oxide (NO), leading to vasodilatation were considered. Evidence abound in the literature that Ca2+ ions are released through 1, 4, 5 inositol phosphatase by the release of phospholipase C, or through interaction of the vanilloid receptors with cannabinoids. In an earlier study, Jaiarj et al. (1998) found that capsaicin acting on the heat-sensitive vanilloid receptors, had thrombolytic effects. Though weak evidence, Jaiarj et al. (1998) observed that individuals who consume large amounts of Capsicum have lower incidence of thromboembolism.
Following ethical approval, the study reported in this thesis was conducted in phases. Identification of Capsicum frutescens (facilitated by a botanist in the Department of Botany, Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu Natal). Chromatographic extraction of capsaicin from Capsicum frutescens was followed by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) analysis of the extract. Animal studies were conducted using capsaicin extract (CFE) and/or a reference capsaicin (CPF), using „hot plate. and „acetic acid. test methods to investigate the role of capsaicin on analgesia. Fresh egg albumin-induced inflammation was used to investigate the role of capsaicin in inflammation, following pre-treatment with CFE and CPF. Concentraton-response curves of increasing concentrations of capsaicin, acetylcholine and other agonist drugs with specific antagonists on strips of chick oesophagus, guinea-pig ileum, and rabbit duodenum were constructed following investigations on gastrointestinal (GIT) smooth muscles. The effect of capsaicin on coagulation was assessed by measuring international normalized ratio (INR) of animals that were exposed to different concentrations of capsaicin (CFE and CPF). Furthermore, parallel control studies were conducted in each of these investigations using distilled water or saline as placebo-control or specific-prototype agonists. negative-control. Cardiovascular investigations included studies on the effects of capsaicin on the heart rate, inotropy,
coronary perfusion pressure, and ischaemic-reperfusion injury, using Langendorf.s rat heart models.
Collated data were triangulated by manual hand-written and PowerLab data acquisition, or computerised capture. Statistical analysis were performed by either one or two of the following: Student.s t-test, ANOVA (repeated or single–use modes), facilitated and confirmed by Graph Pad Prism, Microsoft Excel or CPSS software(s).
Reproducibility and relevance to the stated objectives of the various studies were confirmed by assessing which of the Null or Alternative hypothesis is validated by the results from the test.
Treatment with CFE or CPF at all doses significantly (p<0.01) increased MRT. By comparison with control, writhing responses to acetic acid were significantly reduced following pre-treatment with various doses of CFE or CPF. The results in both parallel groups of CFE and CPF in the hot plate and acetic acid tests had Pearson correlation of one (1).
Compared to the diclofenac (DIC) group, the degree of inhibition of paw oedema by CFE and CPF was statistically significant (P<0.05-0.001), best in the first 4 hours of treatment.
The results of the in vitro laboratory animal study indicate that relatively low concentration of CPF (20 or 40 .g) produced significant (p.0.05), concentration-related inhibitions of acetylcholine (0.1-5 .g)-induced contractions of the chick isolated oesophagus, guinea-pig isolated ileum and rabbit isolated duodenum. Biphasic effects, which were noticed at low concentrations, consisted of initial brief contractions, followed by longer-lasting relaxations and reductions of the contractile amplitudes of the muscle preparations. Percentage inhibitions of the smooth muscle contractions by CFE or CPF were concentration-dependent, ranging from 20-70% (p<0.02).||en