Poincianella bracteosa (Tul.) L.P. Queiroz. (Fabaceae), known as catingueira, is traditionally used in medicine to treat catarrhal infections, diarrhea, hepatitis and anemia. However, there are no studies on toxicogenetics effects of P. bracteosa. The present study aimed to investigate the phytochemical profile as well as the mutagenic and antimutagenic potential of P. bracteosa aqueous barks extract in Allium cepa and Mus musculus. Barks from P. bracteosa were collected in Teresina (PI, Brazil) and male Swiss mice (Mus musculus) were provided by the vivarium from the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FACIME) (PI, Brazil). All procedures using animals were approved by the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals (Protocol No. 07557/15) with five groups (five animals per group). The extract from barks was diluted in distilled water to yield the four concentrations (2, 4, 8 and 16 mg/mL) used in the A. cepa bioassay and the three doses (10, 20 and 40 mg/Kg) administered to the mice. The phytochemical profile was performed by the colorimetric test to identify the main secondary metabolites in the barks extract. After treatment, the roots of A. cepa were washed in distilled water and hydrolyzed (60°C) for 10 min. After hydrolysis, the roots were washed in distilled water and stained with Schiff's reagent (2 h) in the dark. Five thousand meristematic cells (ten slides) were analyzed to determine the mitotic index, the mean number of chromosome alterations and the percentage of damage reduction. For mice, after 24, 48 and 72 h, the blood of tail of each animal was collected for the preparation of two slides per animal. Slides were dried (24 h), fixed in methanol (5 min.), stained with Giemsa (15 min.) and washed with distilled water. For each animal assay, 2,000 normochromatic erythrocytes per mice were evaluated to establish the number of micronuclei and the protective effect. The data were analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis test (p < 0.05). Phytochemical study of the extract detected reducing sugars and tannins. Probably, the phytochemicals in the extract did not interfere with the cell cycle (A. cepa) nor caused damage to the DNA (A. cepa and mice), and exhibited protective effect in both studied species. The observed data indicate the importance of P. bracteosa bark extract for the inhibition of damage and chemoprevention. However, more studies should be carried out to ensure its protective effect on the genetic material.

Keywords: Catingueira, chromosomal alterations, medicinal plant, micronuclei, chemoprevention.