Antioxidant effects of alfalfa can improve iron oxide nanoparticle damage: Invivo and invitro studies

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2016 Nov;81:39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2016.07.010. Epub 2016 Jul 18.


Medicago sativa Linn. or alfalfa (Leguminosae) has been used traditionally as an effective cure for CNS, heart and metabolic disorders and digestive aids. Alfalfa is a resistant plant against stress due to small antioxidant molecules and enzymes. Our previous work demonstrated that 100 μg/ml of 50 nm size Fe2O3-NP causes harsh oxidative stress in HepG2 cells and 100 mg/kg of same nanoparticle causes extreme damage in rat's liver. Therefore it can be used as a useful model for invivo and invitro studies of oxidative stress. This study assessed the effects of two concentration of alfalfa on the mentioned invivo and invitro damage. Our results showed alfalfa reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and enhanced reduced glutathione (GSH) that cause reduction of DNA fragmentation and prevent apoptosis pathway so improve viability of the cells. Results also showed alfalfa decreased hepatic enzymes penetrating and lipid peroxidation in rat's liver. Note that Fe2O3-NP potentially has widespread biological application but its usage is limited due to bio incompatibility. A suitable antioxidant compound that reduce nanoparticle side effects can be used as an effective adjuvant with iron oxide nanoparticle (and may be other nanomaterials) in biological applications.

Keywords: Alfalfa extract; Apoptosis inhibitor; Bio incompatible nanoparticle; Iron oxide nanoparticle; Oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ferric Compounds / toxicity*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Medicago sativa / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • ferric oxide
  • Glutathione