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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2006 Apr;47(3):192-8.

Modulatory effects of Mentha piperita on lung tumor incidence, genotoxicity, and oxidative stress in benzo[a]pyrene-treated Swiss albino mice.

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Radiation and Cancer Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur 302 004, India.


Mentha piperita or peppermint is currently used for alleviating nausea, flatulence, and vomiting. In the present investigation, we evaluated the chemopreventive, antigenotoxic, and antioxidative effects of an aqueous extract of Mentha piperita leaves. One-day-old Swiss albino mice were treated with a single subcutaneous injection of 0.5 mg benzo[a]pyrene (BP) and then given either water or a Mentha extract (ME; 1 g/kg body weight) by gavage starting at 3 weeks of age (weaning). The mice were killed at 9 weeks of age and tested for lung tumor incidence (chemoprevention); bone marrow micronucleus and chromosome aberration frequency (antigenotoxicity); and levels of liver and lung sulfhydral groups, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activity, and lipid peroxidation (LPO) (antioxidative properties). The ME treatment resulted in a significant reduction in the number of lung adenomas from an incidence of 67.92% in animals given only BP to 26.31%, an inhibition of 61.26%. Tumor multiplicity was 1.22 in the BP-alone group and 1.15 in the BP + ME group. In addition, compared with the animals in the BP-alone group, ME reduced the frequency of chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei in bone marrow cells and decreased the levels of LPO and increased reduced glutathione content, and SOD and CAT activities in liver as well as lung. The results of this study indicate that ME is chemopreventive and antigenotoxic when given subsequent to an initiating dose of BP in newborn Swiss albino mice. The chemopreventive action and antigenotoxic effects observed in the present study may be due to the antioxidative properties of ME.

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