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Antigenotoxic properties of Terminalia arjuna bark extracts

Compounds possessing antimutagenic properties (polyphenols, tannins, vitamins, etc.) have been identified in fruits, vegetables, spices, and medicinal plants.

Terminalia arjuna, a tropical woody tree occurring throughout India and known locally as Kumbuk, is a medicinal plant rich in tannins and triterpenes that is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine as a cardiac tonic.

Department of Hygiene, University of Perugia, Italy, conducted a study with the aim to test six solvent extracts from the bark of Terminalia arjuna for antigenotoxic activity using in vitro short-term tests.

Terminalia arjuna extracts were obtained by sequential extraction using acetone, methanol, methanol + HCl, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and ethyl ether. The antigenotoxic properties of these extracts were investigated by assessing the inhibition of genotoxicity of the directacting mutagen 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide (4NQO) using the "comet" assay and the micronucleus (MN) test.

Human peripheral blood leukocytes were incubated with different concentrations of the six extracts (from 5 to 100 microg/ mL) and with 4NQO (1 and 2 microg/mL, for the "comet" assay and MN test, respectively). Each extract/4NQO combination was tested twice; in each experiment, positive control (4NQO alone) and negative control (1% DMSO) were set.

"Comet" assay results showed that acetone and methanol extracts were highly effective in reducing the DNA damage caused by 4NQO, whereas the acidic methanol, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and ethyl ether extracts showed less marked or no antigenotoxic activity. In the MN test, a decrease in 4NQO genotoxicity was observed by testing this mutagen in the presence of acetone, methanol, chloroform, and ethyl acetate extracts, even though the extent of inhibition was not always statistically significant.
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