Basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. tridentata (Asteraceae)), is a widespread North American shrub which produces a variety of polyphenolic compounds. Although sagebrush has been used as a traditional remedy by natives and settlers to the region, the polyphenols in Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata have not been highly investigated for their bioactive properties. To determine whether these polyphenols affect the intracellular redox state, we measured their ability to neutralize radicals in vitro and in a human liver carcinoma cell line (HepG2), and their effects on intracellular glutathione levels. Extracts from Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata decreased the oxidation of 2’7’-dichlorofluorescin in vitro and in cultured cells. Cells treated with polyphenolic extracts showed increased levels of glutathione in a time and dose-dependent manner. Approximately 48 polyphenolic compounds were distinguishable in extracts, by HPLC/UV absorbance detection. Mass spectroscopy was used to identify thirteen compounds as aesculin, aesculetin, apigenin, apigenin-7-O-glucoside, axillarin, casticin, chlorogenic acid, isoscopoletin, kaempferol, luteolin, methyl-axillarin, quercetin, and scopoletin. These results indicate that polyphenols produced in Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata affect the redox state of living cells by multiple mechanisms.
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