Flavonoids extracted from the leaves of Indian holy basil, Ocimum sanctum showed promising results as radioprotector in rodents. Hence it was thought pertinent to analyze the antioxidants of erythrocytes in oral cancer patients who were concurrently treated with radiation and ocimum flavonoids. Oral cancer patients consisted of 2 groups. Group A(n=17) received radiation alone while Group B(n=17) received radiation and ocimum flavonoids(OF). Samples of heparinised blood were collected prior to treatment, 15 and 30 days respectively after treatment. Blood from normal healthy volunteers were taken as controls (n=25). Erythrocytes were analyzed for the antioxidants viz. glutathione, glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase by the standard methods. Results of analysis indicated that erythrocytes from cancer patients (Group A and B) had significantly high glutathione levels before as well as after treatment compared to controls. It was observed that Group B which received OF showed a significant reduction in glutathione levels in comparison with Group A. All the other parameters showed no statistical significant changes. Results of the study suggest that erythrocytes from cancer patients responded to oxidative stress by elevating glutathione levels, while a decrease in glutathione levels observed in Group B, could be due to the free radical scavenging effect of OF, sparing the glutathione. However OF did not seem to exert its effect on other antioxidants of erythrocytes.
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D. M. Vasudevan, Reshma, K., Rao, A. V., and Dinesh, M., “Effect of ocimum flavonoids as a radioprotector on the erythrocyte antioxidants in oral cancer”, Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, vol. 20, pp. 160-164, 2005.