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Mutat Res. 1994 Dec;325(4):129-36.

The genotoxic potential in vitro and in vivo of the allyl benzene etheric oils estragole, basil oil and trans-anethole.

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Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, Berlin, Germany.


Estragole, trans-anethole and basil oil were tested for their ability to induce DNA repair in rat hepatocytes in vitro and in rat liver in an ex vivo test. There was a marked induction of UDS by estragole and basil oil in vitro (LOEC about 10(-5) mol/l). The basil oil we used contained about 88.2% estragole. It is evident from our results that the induction of UDS with basil oil could be directly related to its main constituent estragole. trans-Anethole was only slightly effective in the in vitro UDS test. The ex vivo UDS test led to clearly elevated DNA repair for estragole and basil oil in rats treated orally with doses up to 2 g/kg body weight. Estragole was not positive in a chromosomal aberration test with V79 cells either via direct treatment, with rat liver S9 mix or with rat hepatocytes as source of metabolism.

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