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Effects of babassu nut oil on ischemia/reperfusion-induced leukocyte adhesion and macromolecular leakage in the microcirculation: Observation in the hamster cheek pouch

Maria do Carmo L Barbosa1*, Eliete Bouskela2, Fátima ZGA Cyrino2, Ana Paula S Azevedo1, Maria Célia P Costa3, Maria das Graças C de Souza2, Debora S Santos3, Felipe L Barbosa1, Luiz Felipe A Guerra1 and Maria do Desterro SB Nascimento1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Basic and Applied Immunology and Laboratory of Imunophisiology, Center for Biological and Health Sciences, Federal University of Maranhão, Bacanga Campus, Av. dos Portugueses s/n, Bloco 3, sala 3A, 65085-580, São Luís MA, Brazil

2 Laboratory for Clinical and Experimental Research on Vascular Biology (BioVasc), Reitor Haroldo Lisboa da Cunha Complex, Rio de Janeiro State University, Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524, Ground Floor, 20550-013, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

3 Laboratory of Macromolecular and Natural Products, Department of Chemistry and Biology, Maranhão State University, Center of Education, Exact Sciences, and Natural Sciences, Paulo VI Campus, Caixa Postal 09, 65055-970, São Luís, MA, Brazil

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:158  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-158

Published: 16 November 2012



The babassu palm tree is native to Brazil and is most densely distributed in the Cocais region of the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil. In addition to the industrial use of refined babassu oil, the milk, the unrefined oil and the nuts in natura are used by families from several communities of African descendants as one of the principal sources of food energy. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of babassu oil on microvascular permeability and leukocyte-endothelial interactions induced by ischemia/reperfusion using the hamster cheek pouch microcirculation as experimental model.


Twice a day for 14 days, male hamsters received unrefined babassu oil (0.02 ml/dose [BO-2 group], 0.06 ml/dose [BO-6 group], 0.18 ml/dose [BO-18 group]) or mineral oil (0.18 ml/dose [MO group]). Observations were made in the cheek pouch and macromolecular permeability increase induced by ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) or topical application of histamine, as well as leukocyte-endothelial interaction after I/R were evaluated.


The mean value of I/R-induced microvascular leakage, determined during reperfusion, was significantly lower in the BO-6 and BO-18 groups than in the MO one (P < 0.001). In addition, histamine-induced increase of microvascular permeability was significantly less pronounced in BO groups compared to MO one. No significant differences among groups in terms of leukocyte adhesion, concentrations of tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 1, and interleukin 6 were found.


Our findings suggest that unrefined babassu oil reduced microvascular leakage and protected against histamine-induced effects in postcapillary venules and highlights that these almost unexploited nut and its oil might be secure sources of food energy.

Orbignya phalerata; Arecaceae; Babassu oil; Ischemia/reperfusion; Vascular permeability