Radioprotective effects of propolis and quercetin in gamma-irradiated mice evaluated by the alkaline comet assay

Phytomedicine. 2008 Oct;15(10):851-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2008.02.010.


The radioprotective effects of ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) and quercetin on the white blood cells of the whole-body irradiated CBA mice were investigated. Irradiation was performed using a gamma-ray source ((60)Co), and absorbed dose was 9 Gy. The efficiency of test components was evaluated when given intraperitoneally (ip) at a dose of 100 mg kg(-1) for 3 consecutive days before and/or after irradiation. Moreover, possible genotoxic effects of test components were also assessed on non-irradiated animals. For each experimental group leukocyte count was determined and the primary DNA damage in leukocytes was assessed using the alkaline comet assay. The higher efficiency of EEP and quercetin was observed when given preventively. The results suggest that propolis and quercetin given to mice before irradiation protect their white blood cells from lethal effects of irradiation and diminish primary DNA damage as confirmed by the alkaline comet assay. Positive results obtained on gamma-irradiated mice given EEP and quercetin, complementary with our earlier observations on survival of irradiated mice, indicate that these compounds could be considered effective non-toxic radioprotectors. The exact mechanisms of radioprotection by these compounds and their effects on DNA repair processes are still to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Comet Assay*
  • DNA Damage
  • Gamma Rays*
  • Leukocytes / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Propolis / pharmacology*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*


  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Propolis
  • Quercetin