Efficacy of a plant extract (Chelidonium majus L.) in combating induced hepatocarcinogenesis in mice

Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 May;46(5):1474-87. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2007.12.009. Epub 2007 Dec 15.


Ethanolic whole plant extract of Chelidonium majus, extensively used in traditional systems of medicine against various liver ailments, has been tested for its possible anti-tumor, hepato-protective and anti-genotoxic effects in p-dimethylaminoazobenzene (p-DAB) induced hepatocarcinogenesis in mice through multiple assays: cytogenetical, biochemical, histological and electron microscopical. Different sets of mice, 5 (for 7, 15 and 30 days' treatment) or 10 (for 60, 90 and 120 days) each, were chronically fed a diet suitably mixed with p-DAB and phenobarbital to develop liver tumors. One sub-group of carcinogen fed mice was also fed C. majus extract; 0.1 ml daily (drug-treated) while the other equal amount of dilute ethyl alcohol ("vehicle" of plant extract) (positive control). A separate group of mice was maintained with normal diet without any carcinogen treatment (negative control). Data of several cytogenetical endpoints and biochemical assay of some toxicity marker enzymes at all fixation intervals and histology of liver sections through ordinary, scanning and transmission electron microscopy at 60 and 120 days and that of spleen and kidney at 90 days were critically analyzed in the treated lots vis-a-vis controls. The results suggest anti-tumor, anti-genotoxic and hepato-protective effects of the plant extract, showing potentials for use in cancer therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bone Marrow Cells / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow Cells / ultrastructure
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Chelidonium / chemistry*
  • Chromosome Aberrations / drug effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Mitotic Index
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Sperm Head / drug effects
  • Sperm Head / ultrastructure
  • Tissue Fixation
  • p-Dimethylaminoazobenzene / toxicity


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Carcinogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • p-Dimethylaminoazobenzene
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase