Zingiber officinale exhibits behavioral radioprotection against radiation-induced CTA in a gender-specific manner

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006 Jun;84(2):179-88. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2006.04.008. Epub 2006 Jun 21.


At the organismic level, exposure to radiation can produce taste aversion (CTA) learning and emesis, which have been proposed as behavioral endpoints that are mediated by harmful effects of radiations on peripheral systems, primarily the gastrointestinal system. Thus, the aim of the present investigation was to study the gastroprotective action of hydroalcoholic extract of zingiber rhizome (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) against radiation-induced conditioned taste aversion (CTA) in both male and female species of animals, for testing its potential as a behavioral radioprotector. Administration of zingiber extract 1 h before 2-Gy gamma-radiation was significantly effective in blocking the saccharin avoidance response, with 200 and 250 mg/kg b.wt. i.p., being the most effective doses for male and female rats, respectively. A comparison of the efficacy of zingiber extract with two antiemetic drugs, ondansteron and dexamethasone, revealed that the extract rendered comparable protection against radiation-induced CTA. Our experiments also confirmed the existence of sex dichotomy (i.e., the sex of animal greatly influenced response towards radiation exposure) in relation to behavioral responses (CTA) or differential metabolism. The observed gender variations were hypothesized to be a result of hormonal fluctuations and differences in pharmacological parameters in male and female rats. To correlate the mechanism of action, the free-radical-scavenging potential of zingiber extract to scavenge hydroxyl ion and nitric oxide was also tested, in cell-free system and a concentration of 1000 microg/ml, was found to be the most potent, which has been proposed as one the many activities assisting in its overall ability to modulate radiation-induced taste aversion. The results demonstrate that Z. officinale possesses antioxidant, radioprotective and neuromodulatory properties that can be effectively utilized for behavioral radioprotection and for efficiently mitigating radiation-induced CTA in both males and females species.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiemetics / pharmacology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Psychological / radiation effects*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Drinking Behavior / drug effects
  • Drinking Behavior / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Gamma Rays
  • Male
  • Ondansetron / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Saccharin
  • Taste / drug effects
  • Taste / radiation effects*
  • Whole-Body Irradiation / adverse effects
  • Zingiber officinale*


  • Antiemetics
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Ondansetron
  • Dexamethasone
  • Saccharin