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Toxicol Ind Health. 2002 Jun;18(5):215-24.

Pycnogenol in cigarette filters scavenges free radicals and reduces mutagenicity and toxicity of tobacco smoke in vivo.

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Institute of Biophysics, Academia Sinica, 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, PR China.


Despite large-scale anti-smoking campaigns throughout the world, the number of smokers remains high and cigarette smoking continues to represent a life-threatening health risk. Until a smoke-free society is achieved, reduction of cigarette smoke toxins may reduce the health burden. Current cigarette filter techniques are limited to the reduction of volatile tar constituents by dilution and by condensation on the filter surface. Vast quantities of harmful constituents, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic (aromatic) amines, free radicals and reactive oxygen species, are inefficiently retained in the filter. We investigated whether neutralisation of free radicals in cigarette filters is feasible and accompanied by a reduction in smoke toxicity. Addition of the bioflavonoid pine bark extract Pycnogenol to cigarette filters depleted free radicals in a dose dependent manner. This was paralleled by a reduction of toxicity and mutagenicity in rodent test models. In this model system, the acute toxicity of cigarette smoke was markedly reduced by up to 70% in rodents with 0.4 mg Pycnogenol in filters. Chronic exposure to cigarette smoke for 75 days revealed that Pycnogenol filters significantly reduced mutagenicity by up to 48% and decreased pathological changes in lung tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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