The radioprotective effect of hydroalcholic Zataria multiflora (Avishan-e shirazi) extract was investigated against genotoxicity induced byγ irradiation in human lymphocytes. Peripheral blood samples were collected from human volunteers and incubated with Z. multiflora extract at different concentrations (5, 10, and 50 μg/mL) for 1 hour. At each dose point, the whole blood was exposed in vitro to 150 cGy of cobalt-60 γ irradiation, and then the lymphocytes were cultured with mitogenic stimulation to determine number of the micronuclei in cytokinesis-blocked binucleated cells. The treatment of lymphocytes with extract showed a significant decrease in the incidence of micronuclei binucleated cells, compared with similarly irradiated lymphocytes without extract against γ irradiation. The maximum protection and decrease in frequency of micronuclei was observed at 50 μg/mL of Zataria extract by 32% reduction. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of extract showed that it contains high amounts of thymol. Zataria extract exhibited concentration-dependent radical-scavenging activity on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl free radicals. These data have an important application for the protection of human lymphocyte from the genetic damage and side-effects induced by γ irradiation in personnel exposed to radiation.
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