Allium sativum L. extract prevents methyl mercury-induced cytotoxicity in peripheral blood leukocytes (LS)

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Jan;48(1):417-21. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2009.10.033. Epub 2009 Oct 29.


Adenosine deaminase (ADA) is involved in purine metabolism and plays a significant role in the immune system. The focus of this investigation was to examine the effects of low concentrations of organic mercury on ADA activity in human leukocytes and to investigate the relationship between these effects and cell death. We have examined the protective potential effects of Allium sativum extract (GaE) against Methylmercury (MeHg)-induced cytotoxic effects on human leucocytes under in vitro conditions. MeHg (0.05-10 microM) significantly decreased leukocyte viability (58.97% for MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) and 51.67% for Alamar Blue (AB) and this decrease was positively correlated to the MeHg-induced inhibition of ADA activity. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and GaE prevented both the MeHg-induced cytotoxic effects on leukocytes according to MTT and AB assays and the effects on the ADA activity. The present results suggest that the protective effects of GaE against MeHg-induced leukocyte damage is related to the removal of oxidant species generated in the presence of MeHg due to the antioxidant efficacy of garlic constituents. It is important to point out that the intense presence of ADA in Leukocyte suspension (LS) highlights the relevant effects in the immune system and in vitro cytotoxicity of MeHg exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosamine / pharmacology
  • Adenosine Deaminase / metabolism
  • Allium / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Coloring Agents
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leukocytes / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes / enzymology
  • Methylmercury Compounds / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Methylmercury Compounds / toxicity*
  • Oxazines
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Xanthenes


  • Antioxidants
  • Coloring Agents
  • Methylmercury Compounds
  • Oxazines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Xanthenes
  • resazurin
  • Adenosine Deaminase
  • thiazolyl blue
  • Acetylglucosamine