Uma Devi, P., Ganasoundari, A., Vrinda, B., Srinivasan, K. K. and Unnikrishnan, M. K. Radiation Protection by the Ocimum Flavonoids Orientin and Vicenin: Mechanisms of Action.
In previous studies, flavonoids, orientin and vicenin, that were isolated from the leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum, were found to protect mice against radiation injury. Several flavonoids are known to be good antioxidants. Therefore, the effect of orientin and vicenin on radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in vivo and their antioxidant activity in vitro were studied. Adult mice were injected intraperitoneally with 50 μg/kg of orientin or vicenin and exposed whole-body to 3 Gy of γ radiation. Lipid peroxidation was measured in the liver 15 min to 8 h postirradiation. The antioxidant activity of orientin/vicenin (10–500 μM) was studied by measuring inhibition of hydroxyl radicals generated by the Fenton reaction (Fe3+-EDTA-ascorbic acid-H2O2) in vitro. The compounds were also tested for possible pro-oxidant and iron chelation activities at the above concentrations in the in vitro system. Orientin and vicenin provided almost equal protection against radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in mouse liver. Both compounds showed a significantly greater free radical-inhibiting activity in vitro than DMSO. Neither orientin nor vicenin showed any pro-oxidant activity at the concentrations tested. Both compounds inhibited free radical formation in the absence of EDTA. Free radical scavenging appears to be a likely mechanism of radiation protection by these flavonoids.