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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Jan;1095:574-84.

Assessment of the effect of Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench on apoptotic and mitotic activity of liver cells during intoxication by cadmium.

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Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas University of Medicine, Eiveni g. 4, 50009 Kaunas, Lithuania.


Cadmium (Cd(2+)) is an important industrial pollutant, although its mechanism of toxicity has not been completely clarified. Cd(2+) is toxic to a wide range of organs and tissues, however, the primary target organs of Cd(2+) toxicity are the liver and kidney. Echinacea purpurea stimulating one or another tread of the immune system stimulates the expression of immunoglobulins and interferons. The experiments were performed on white laboratory mice using intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections 0.05 LD(50) amount of CdCl(2) solution. Two groups of mice were injected by Echinacea purpurea liquid extract: one 0.05 LD(50) and the other 0.1 LD(50). In this article, the Cd(2+) distribution in internal organs, its effect on the mitotic and apoptotic activity of liver cells, as well as effects of Echinacea purpurea liquid extract on Cd(2+)-induced changes in mice were investigated. Cd(2+) concentration in mice blood, liver, and kidney was detected by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Long-term injections of extract of Echinacea purpurea combined with Cd(2+)Cl(2) leads to the significant increase of Cd(2+) concentration in blood and investigated organs of experimental mice. Mitotic and apoptotic activity of liver cells was expressed as the estimated number of mitotic and apoptotic liver cells in randomly selected reference areas in histological slide. Echinacea purpurea decreases the mitotic activity of liver cells induced by Cd(2+) and increases apoptotic activity of the liver cells.

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