Extraction, purification and in vitro assessment of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of policosanols from non-psychoactive Cannabis sativa L

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“Policosanols (PCs) are bioactive compounds extracted from different natural waxes.

In this work, the purification, characterization and assessment of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity was carried out on PCs from an innovative source, i.e. a waxy material from supercritical-fluid extraction (SFE) of non-psychoactive Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) inflorescences.

Starting from this material, PCs were obtained by microwave-assisted trans-esterification and hydrolysis, followed by preparative liquid chromatography under normal phase conditions. The purified product was characterized using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with an evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD). In vitro cell-free and cell-based antioxidant and anti-inflammatory assays were then performed to assess their bioactivity. HPLC-ELSED analysis of the purified mixture from hemp wax revealed C26OH and C28OH as the main compounds. 

In vitro assays indicated an inhibition of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, a reduction of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation and of the activity of the neutrophil elastase. Immunoblotting assays allowed us to hypothesize the mechanism of action of the compounds of interest, given the higher levels of MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) protein expression in the PC pretreated HaCaT cells.

In conclusion, even if more research is needed to unveil other molecular mechanisms involved in hemp PC activity, the results of this work suggest that these compounds may have potential for use in oxinflammation processes.”


“A new extraction method for policosanols from hemp wax was developed. This new product may be useful against oxinflammation processes.”


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