Natália M. Esteves-Pedro, Andrea C.D. Rodas, Cháriston A. Dal Belo, Yoko Oshima-Franco, Márcio G. dos Santos and Patricia S. Lopes
In Brazil, medicinal plants are widely used by the indigenous people, which leads to a constant requirement for toxicity tests to be performed on the plant extracts. Although the current Brazilian Directive 90/2004 on the preclinical toxicity testing of phytotherapeutics recommends only in vivo tests, some Brazilian researchers would like to change this situation by implementing the Three Rs in the toxicological testing of medicinal plants. The present study evaluated the cytotoxic and genotoxic potentials of bark extracts from Dipteryx alata Vogel, a medicinal plant of the Brazilian cerrado, by using CHO-K1 (Chinese hamster ovary) cells. An IC50 value was obtained, which corresponded to 0.16mg/ml of plant extract, and from this the equivalent LD50 was determined as 705mg/kg. In order to determine the genotoxic potential of the sample, the frequency of micronucleus formation was assessed. CHO-K1 cells were exposed, during targeted mitosis, to different concentrations of plant extract and cytochalasin B, in the presence and absence of an appropriate metabolic activation system (an S9 mix). The results obtained indicated that it might be possible to implement the Three Rs in assessing the potential human hazard of medicinal plants. The publication of such data can increase awareness of the Three Rs by showing how to optimise the management of animal use, if in vivo toxicological experiments are required.
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