Aim of the study: Eryngium creticum, Nigella sativa, and Teucrium polium have been traditionally used for the treatment of inflammations, liver disorders, and arthritis. Various studies on these plants revealed anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective and antimutagenic activities. Previous results of our research group, however, indicate that aqueous extracts prepared as for the traditional use (tea) have neither cytoprotective nor antimutagenic activity. Instead, there is evidence for a mutagenic potential. Since the described antimutagenic activity may not be present in effective amounts in the aqueous extracts this study focuses on ethanolic extracts.
Materials and methods: Ethanolic extracts of the three plant species were prepared and tested against N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG), a directly acting mutagen. Since it cannot be excluded that the active constituents of the plant extracts require biotransformation or induce metabolic enzymes, causing antimutagenic or detoxifying effects, primary cultures of rat hepatocytes were used for this study. Plant ethanolic extracts were applied along with MNNG in three protocols: pre-treatment, combined treatment and post-treatment.
Results and conclusions: The results of this investigation clearly indicate an inhibitory effect of the plant extracts on MNNG mutagenicity, while the extracts had no effect on cytotoxicity indicators such as necrosis and apoptosis. The effects obtained can be attributed to a direct antimutagenic activity and an increased recovery at the chromosomal level. In order to identify the responsible compounds extracts will in a next step have to be fractionated, tested and chemically analyzed.
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