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Free Radic Biol Med. 1995 Jun;18(6):985-91.

Radiation-induced clastogenic factors: anticlastogenic effect of Ginkgo biloba extract.

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Department of Genetics, Institut Biomédical des Cordeliers, Université Paris VI, France.


Clastogenic factors (CFs) were first described in the blood of persons irradiated accidentally or for therapeutic reasons. Work of our laboratory has shown that they occur also under other circumstances, which are characterized by oxidative stress, and that CF-induced chromosome damage is regularly prevented by superoxide dismutase (SOD). Recently we found CFs in a high percentage of salvage personnel of the Chernobyl reactor accident. These liquidators represent a high-risk population and might benefit from cancer chemoprevention by antioxidants. SOD would have to be injected and is not appropriate for long-term prophylactic treatment. In the present study, we therefore evaluated the anticlastogenic effect of the Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761, which is known for its superoxide scavenging properties. EGb 761 was tested on CF-treated blood cultures of healthy donors. After establishing the optimal protective EGb concentration, using CFs produced by irradiation of whole blood from healthy volunteers, the extract was tested on cultures exposed to CFs from plasma of persons irradiated as liquidators. The anticlastogenic effect could be confirmed for a final concentration of 100 micrograms/ml. In 12 consecutive experiments, CFs induced an average of 18.00 +/- 4.41 aberrations/100 cells. This was reduced to 7.33 +/- 3.08 in the parallel cultures receiving 100 micrograms/ml EGb 761 (p < .001). SOD was anticlastogenic in the same system at concentrations of 30 cytochrome C units/ml (approximately 10 micrograms/ml). Preliminary results obtained in a small series of liquidators showed regression or complete disappearance of CFs in the plasma after 2 months of treatment with EGb 761 (3 x 40 mg/d).

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