Betel cytotoxicity: further evidence from mouse bone marrow cells

Sen, Soumitra ; Talukder, Geeta ; Sharma, Archana (1991) Betel cytotoxicity: further evidence from mouse bone marrow cells Pharmaceutical Biology, 29 (2). pp. 130-140. ISSN 1388-0209

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Long term studies (up to 10 months) for the simulation of betel habits, with or without tobacco, as currently practiced in Oriental countries, were performed using inbred Swiss albino mice. The cytotoxic and clastogenic potential of these complex chewing mixtures were assessed distally on bone marrow cells. Total aqueous extracts of Areca catechu L. nut and Nicoliana tabacum L. sundried leaf have been found to be mitogenic. The basic ingredients of the quid per se were not clastogenic. Tobacco, in any combination of chewing mixture, induced time-dependent clastogenicity. Direct damage to chromosomes was observed in the early stage, and lethal effects were observed in the latter stages of the study. Nuclear DNA content of the cells, measured in situ by Feulgen cytophotometry, was increased after administration of A. catechu and Piper betle leaf (vars. Bangla and Metha-Thakpala) or any combination of tobacco with or without leaf; nut and lime [Ca(OH)2]. High lime and leaf (var. Bangla) counteracted the mitogenicity and DNA aneuploid cell production, but could not counteract the combined effects of Areca and Nicotiana extracts. The experimental sets were characterised by gradual time-dependent production of DNA aneuploid cells, often between 4C and 6C range. The production of characteristic DNA aneuploid cells and DNA aneuploid spread of mode in the experimental sets along with mitogenicity of A. catechunuteindP. betle leaf and strong clastogenicity of N. tabacum point to the cytotoxic potential of the betel quid ingredients and the risk involved with its chewing.

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