Voacanga africana is used in Cameroonian ethnomedicine for the treatment of peptic ulcers. We have tested the cytoprotective, anti-secretory and ulcer healing actions of an alkaloid (TN) obtained from the fruit extract. Oral administration of TN (50-100 mg/kg) dose-dependently prevented ulcer formation by HCl/ethanol (36-75 %), absolute ethanol (43-75 %), HCl-ethanol/indomethacin (58-84 %), Pylorus ligation (31 - 100 %), cold restraint stress (68-100 %) and histamine (49-100 %). The inhibitory effect at 50 and 100 mg/kg against HCl/ethanol was not suppressed by pre-treatment with indomethacin (20 mg/kg, i.p.). TN reduced Shay-ligated gastric acid secretion from 77 mEq/l in the controls to 46 and 25 mEq/l for the 50 and 100 mg/kg doses. Augmented histamine-induced gastric acid secretion was reduced from 84 mEq/l in the controls to 45 and 21 mEq/l for the two doses of TN, with total inhibition of gastric and duodenal ulcers by the 50 mg/kg dose. Healing rate of chronic acetic acid-induced ulcers was 62 and 83 %, respectively, for the dose of 50 and 100 mg/kg of TN compared with the controls. TN has gastric anti-secretory effects similar to histamine receptor blockers. Its cytoprotective and ulcer healing properties are related to its ability to strengthen gastric mucosal defenses through enhanced gastric mucus production.
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