Extract of Toxicodendron quercifolium caused genotoxicity and antigenotoxicity in bone marrow cells of CD1 mice

Volker Mersch-Sundermann, Fekadu Kassie, Sonja Böhmer, Wen Qing Lu, Robert Wohlfahrth, Rosa Sobel, Hubertus E. Brunn, Mahmoud A. ElSohly, Samir A. Ross, Thorsten Stahl

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As has been shown in numerous studies, naturally occurring compounds can have protective effects towards mutagens and carcinogens. In the present study, the genotoxic/antigenotoxic effect of Toxicodendron quercifolium (poison ivy) extract, which has been identified as antigenotoxic in human HepG2 cells in former studies, was examined in the in vivo micronucleus assay using polychromatic erythrocytes (PCE) of bone marrow of CD1-mice. For this, D0 (1:10), D0 (1:25), D0 (1:50), D1 (1:50), D2 (1:50), and D4 (1:50) dilutions of ethanolic plant extract prepared on the basis of the "Hömoopathisches Arzneimittelbuch (HAB 2000)" were administered orally to CD1 mice over a period of two days. A significant increase (p<0.05) in micronucleus frequencies was found after administration of D0 (1:10), the highest tolerated dose. Additionally, antigenotoxic effects of T. quercifolium towards benzo(a)pyrene-induced micronucleus formation were studied. For that, four dilutions of the plant extract [D0, D2, D4, D6, each 1:50] were administered orally to CD1 mice for five days prior to the administration of benzo(a)pyrene (250 mg/kg b.w.) for another two days. It was found that the administration of the dilutions D0 (1:50) and D2 (1:50) of T. quercifolium extract significantly inhibited benzo(a)pyrene-induced micronucleus formation (p<0.0001). The results of this study indicated that T. quercifolium extract has the character of a so-called "Janus"-genotoxin: High doses led to a weak but significant increase of micronucleus frequencies whereas low doses showed chemopreventive effects towards benzo(a)pyrene-induced DNA damage. The constituents of T. quercifolium responsible for the genotoxic and antigenotoxic effects may be flavonoids, which are known to have prooxidative and scavenging effects and identified by HPLC-MS/MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1611-1617
Number of pages7
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004


  • (Anti)genotoxicity
  • B(a)P, benzo(a)pyrene
  • In vivo mouse micronucleus assay
  • MNPCE, micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes
  • NCE, normochromatic erythrocytes
  • NDI, nuclear division index
  • PCE, polychromatic erythrocytes
  • Toxicodendron quercifolium


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