Protective effect of onion extract on bleomycin-induced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity in human lymphocytes

Yoon Hee Cho, Joong Won Lee, Hae Dong Woo, Sunyeong Lee, Yang Jee Kim, Younghyun Lee, Sangah Shin, Hyojee Joung, Hai Won Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Following one of the world’s largest nuclear accidents, occured at Fukushima, Japan in 2011, a significant scientific effort has focused on minimizing the potential adverse health effects due to radiation exposure. The use of natural dietary antioxidants to reduce the risk of radiation-induced oxidative DNA damage is a simple strategy for minimizing radiation-related cancer rates and improving overall health. The onion is among the richest sources of dietary flavonoids and is an important food for increasing their overall intake. Therefore, we examined the effect of an onion extract on cyto- and geno-toxicity in human lymphocytes treated with bleomycin (BLM), a radiomimetic agent. In addition, we measured the frequency of micronuclei (MN) and DNA damage following treatment with BLM using a cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay and a single cell gel electrophoresis assay. We observed a significant increase in cell viability in lymphocytes treated with onion extract then exposed to BLM compared to cells treated with BLM alone. The frequency of BLM induced MN and DNA damage increased in a dose-dependent manner; however, when lymphocytes were pretreated with onion extract (10 and 20 μL/mL), the frequency of BLM-induced MN was decreased at all doses of BLM and DNA damage was decreased at 3 μg/mL of BLM. These results suggest that onion extract may have protective effects against BLM-induced cyto- and genotoxicity in human lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number227
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 19 2016


  • Bleomycin
  • Cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay
  • Onion extract
  • Radiation
  • Single cell gel electrophoresis assay


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