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Acute toxicity and cytotoxicity evaluation of Dendrobium moniliforme aqueous extract in vivo and in vitro


Dendrobium moniliforme (L.) Sw., an herb of the Orchidaceae family, has long been used in traditional medicine to strengthen bones, nourish the stomach, and promote the production of bodily fluid. Recently, polysaccharides isolated from Dendrobium have been used in functional foods and nutraceutical products. A traditional method to process Dendrobium is to soak fresh stems in an ethanol solution, which is the most important factor to ensure high yields of aqueous-extractable polysaccharides. The present study was carried out to investigate the potential acute toxicity of D. moniliforme aqueous extract (DMAE), by a single oral dose in Sprague-Dawley rats. The test article was orally administered once by gavage to male and female rats at doses of 0, 2,500, and 5,000 mg/kg body weight (n=5 male and female rats for each dose). Throughout the study period, no treatment-related deaths were observed and no adverse effects were noted in clinical signs, body weight, food consumption, serum biochemistry, organ weight, or gross findings at any dose tested. The results show that a single oral administration of DMAE did not induce any toxic effects at a dose below 5,000 mg/kg in rats, and the minimal lethal dose was considered to be over 5,000 mg/kg body weight for both sexes. With respect to cytotoxicity, the cell viability of human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells was less than 50% when the cells were treated with 10 mg/mL aqueous extract for 24 h.


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This study was supported by a grant from the Joint Research Project (Project Number: PJ009470), Rural Development Administration (RDA), Republic of Korea.

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Correspondence to Won-Seok Jung or Jong-Choon Kim.

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Lee, M., Jung, H., Kim, M. et al. Acute toxicity and cytotoxicity evaluation of Dendrobium moniliforme aqueous extract in vivo and in vitro. Lab Anim Res 32, 144–150 (2016).

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  • Dendrobium moniliforme
  • acute toxicity
  • minimal lethal dose (LD10)
  • cytotoxicity