Free radicals are responsible for the induction of damage to the cellular DNA that leads to the formation of chromosome aberrations. Antioxidants are known to scavenge free radicals, thereby decreasing the degree of such effects. Radiation is a well-known inducer of free radicals and compounds that can scavenge free radicals may reduce radiation-induced DNA damage. Naringin, a bioflavonoid predominant in grapefruit and other citrus fruits, has been found to scavenge free radicals, therefore it may also reduce radiation-induced damage. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the radioprotective action of 2 mg/kg naringin in the bone marrow of mice exposed to different doses of (60)Co gamma-radiation by scoring the frequency of asymmetrical chromosomal aberrations. The irradiation of mice resulted in a dose-dependent elevation in the frequency of aberrant cells, acentric fragments, chromatid and chromosome breaks, dicentrics and exchanges. All these aberrations were elevated with scoring time up to 24 h post-irradiation and declined thereafter, except chromatid breaks, which were maximum at 12 h post-irradiation. Treatment of mice with 2 mg/kg body wt naringin before exposure to various doses of gamma-radiation resulted in a significant reduction in the frequencies of aberrant cells and chromosomal aberrations like acentric fragments, chromatid and chromosome breaks, centric rings, dicentrics and exchanges. The evaluation of free radical scavenging activity of naringin revealed a dose-dependent scavenging of hydroxyl, superoxide and 2,2 equal to or precedes -diphenyl-1-picryl hydrazyl radical. Naringin at 5 microM scavenged the 2,2-azino-bis-3-ethyl benzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid cation radical very efficiently, where a 90% scavenging was observed. Our study demonstrates that naringin can protect mouse bone marrow cells against radiation-induced chromosomal damage.