Saw palmetto extract induces nuclear heterogeneity in mice

Wachareeporn Trinachartvanit, Bettina M. Francis, A. Lane Rayburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Saw palmetto (SW), a phytotherapeutic compound used in the treatment of prostate disease, was examined for potential nuclear effects. SW extract was incorporated into a complete casein-based semisynthetic rodent chow at 0%, 0.1% and 1% SW. SW was fed to mice for 6 weeks, after which the mice received a single i/p injection of either the known genotoxic agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) in saline or just saline. Forty-eight hours after injection, blood and bone marrow were collected for flow cytometric analysis. A significant effect of MMS was observed in both male and female mice with respect to: an increase in nuclear heterogeneity in bone marrow cells as measured by the coefficient of variation of the G1 peak in a flow histogram (6.32 versus 4.8 in male mice, 7.0 versus 4.9 in female mice) and an increase in the number of micronucleated blood cells (3.4% versus 0.56% male mice, 3.1% versus 0.6 in female mice) indicating a positive genotoxic response. SW also appears to increase the heterogeneity of bone marrow nuclei in a dose dependent manner (0-5.1%, 0.1-5.5% and 1-5.7% in male mice, 0-5.7%, 0.1-6.0% and 1-6.2% in female mice) without a concomitant increase in blood cell micronuclei. These results indicate that SW is not genotoxic with respect to physical DNA damage and that the changes observed in the bone marrow are due to chromatin conformation modifications in the nuclei of in vivo treated mouse cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Chromatin
  • Flow cytometry
  • Micronuclei
  • Serenoa repens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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