Modifying Effects of Lemongrass Essential Oil on Specific Tissue Response to the Carcinogen N-Methyl-N-Nitrosurea in Female BALB/c Mice
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Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf) essential oil has been used worldwide because of its ethnobotanical and medicinal usefulness. Regarding its medicinal usefulness, the present study evaluated the beneficial effects of lemongrass essential oil (LGEO) oral treatment on cell proliferation and apoptosis events and on early development of hyperplastic lesions in the mammary gland, colon, and urinary bladder induced by N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) in female BALB/c mice. The animals were allocated into three groups: G1, treated with LGEO vehicle for 5 weeks (five times per week); G2, treated with LGEO vehicle as for GI and MNU (two injections each of 30 mg/kg of body weight at weeks 3 and 5); and G3, treated with LGEO (five times each with 500 mg/kg of body weight per week) and MNU as for G2. Twenty-four hours after the last MNU application, all animals were euthanized, and mammary glands, colon, and urinary bladder were collected for histological and immunohistochemical analysis. LGEO oral treatment significantly changed the indexes of apoptosis and/or cellular proliferation for the tissues analyzed. In particular, the treatment reduced the incidence of hyperplastic lesions and increased apoptosis in mammary epithelial cells. This increment in the apoptosis response may be related to a favorable balance in Bel2/Bax immunoreactivity in mammary epithelial cells. These findings indicate that LGEO presented a protective role against early MNU-induced mammary gland alterations in BALB/c mice.
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