The present study is an effort to identify a potent chemopreventive agent against various diseases (including cancer) in which oxidative stress plays an important causative role. Here, we investigated the effect of a hydroalcoholic (80% ethanol: 20% distilled water) extract of aerial roots of Tinospora cordifolia (50 and 100mg/kg body wt./day for 2 weeks) on carcinogen/drug metabolizing phase-I and phase-II enzymes, antioxidant enzymes, glutathione
(GSH) content, lactate dehydrogenase and lipid peroxidation in liver of 8-week-old Swiss albino mice. The modulatory effect of the extract was also examined on extrahepatic organs, i.e., lung, kidney and forestomach, for the activities of GSH S-transferase (GST), DT-diaphorase (DTD), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. Significant increases in the levels of acid-soluble sulfhydryl (SH) and cytochrome P450 contents, and enzyme activities of cytochrome P450 reductase, cytochrome b5 reductase, GST, DTD, SOD, catalase, GSH peroxidase (GPX) and GSH reductase (GR) were observed in the liver. Both treated groups showed decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) formation. In lung SOD, catalase and GST; in kidney SOD and catalase; and in forestomach SOD, DTD and GST showed significant increase at both dose levels of treatment. BHA (0.75%, w/w in diet), a pure antioxidant compound, was used as a positive control. This group showed increase in hepatic levels of GSH content, cytochrome b5, DTD, GST, GR and catalase, whereas MDA formation was inhibited significantly. In the BHA-treated group, the lung and kidney showed increased levels of catalase, DTD and GST, whereas SOD was significantly increased in the kidney and forestomach; the latter also showed an increase in the activities of DTD and GST. The enhanced
GSH level and enzyme activities involved in xenobiotic metabolism and maintaining antioxidant status of cells are suggestive of a chemopreventive efficacy of T. cordifolia against chemotoxicity, including carcinogenicity,
which warrants further investigation of active principle (s) present in the extract responsible for the observed effects employing various carcinogenesis models.