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Braz J Med Biol Res. 1993 ; 26(1): 93-8.

Absence of genotoxic activity of beta-myrcene in the in vivo cytogenetic bone marrow assay.

Zamith HP, Vidal MN, Speit G, Paumgartten FJ.

Departamento de Farmacologia e Toxicologia, Instituto Nacional de Controle de Qualidade em Saúde, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

beta-Myrcene (MYR, 7-methyl-3-methylene-1,6 octadiene) is a peripheral analgesic substance and one of the major constituents of lemongrass oil (Cymbopogon citratus, Stapf), a plant widely used in Brazilian folk medicine. In the present study the genotoxicity of MYR was evaluated in vivo using the rat bone marrow cytogenetic assay. Male and female Wistar rats weighing 250 g (223 to 286 g) and 178 g (168 to 186 g), respectively, were used. Two or four rats of either sex were treated orally with MYR (0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 g/kg po), corn oil (negative control) and cyclophosphamide 30 mg/kg ip (positive control). Animals were sacrificed and bone marrow cells were harvested 24 and 48 h after MYR administration. The mitotic index and the frequency of chromosome aberrations were evaluated. Fifty metaphase cells were examined per animal. A dose related increase in mitotic index was observed 24-h after MYR administration. No evidence of MYR-induced clastogenicity was observed under the experimental conditions of this in vivo assay. The present results and previous negative findings of in vitro mutagenicity tests strongly indicate that MYR is not a genotoxic substance.

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