Isolation and evaluation of cytogenetic effect of Brahmi saponins on cultured human lymphocytes exposed in vitro

Major saponins of Brahmi (Bacopa monniera, Fam: Scrophulariaceae) – bacosides A and B – were isolated from the total methanol extract and characterised based on melting point, TLC, IR, 1H NMR and 13C NMR. They were evaluated for their in vitro cytogenetic effects on human peripheral blood lymphocytes by chromosomal aberration (CA) assay and sister chromatid exchange (SCE) assay. The frequency of chromatid type aberrations and reciprocal interchanges between sister chromatids in the treated cells was scored in comparison to the untreated control. At 30 μg/mL dose, bacoside A showed a statistically significant increase in the frequency of both CA and SCE and bacoside B showed an increase only in SCE. Our report of the genotoxicity of the saponins is significant in view of the reports of anticancer activity of Brahmi extracts.