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Open Access Research article

Genotoxicity evaluation of Guibi-Tang extract using an in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay, chromosome aberration assay, and in vivo micronucleus test

Mee-Young Lee1, Chang-Seob Seo1, Ji-Young Kim2 and Hyeun-Kyoo Shin1*

Author Affiliations

1 Herbal Medicine Formulation Research Group, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 483 Expo-ro, Daejeon 305-811, Yusung-gu, Republic of Korea

2 Division of Nonclinical Studies, Korea Institute of Toxicology, 19 Sinseongro, P.O. Box 123, Daejeon 305-343, Yuseong-gu, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:215  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-215

Published: 1 July 2014



Guibi-Tang is a traditional herbal prescription made from 12 different herbs that is used in the treatment of amnesia and poor memory.


In the present study, we evaluated the acute oral toxicity and genotoxic potential of Guibi-Tang water extract (GBT) at doses up to 2000 μg/plate an using a bacterial reverse mutation test (Ames test) with Salmonella typhimurium strains TA100, TA1535, TA98, and TA1537, and Escherichia coli strain WP2uvrA. Acute toxicity and genotoxic potential were measured in the presence and absence of an exogenous source of metabolic activation, in an in vitro chromosome aberration assay with Chinese hamster lung (CHL) cells, and in an in vivo micronucleus test using ICR mice bone marrow as recommended by the Korean Food and Drug Administration. An acute oral toxicity test of GBT was performed in Sprague Dawley rats. The Ames test showed that GBT did not induce gene mutations in S. typhimurium or in E. coli in the presence or absence of S9 activation.


GBT did not significantly increase the number of structural aberrations in CHL cells with or without S9 activation. The oral administration of GBT at a dose of up to 2000 mg/kg caused no significant increase in the number of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes or in the mean ratio of polychromatic to total erythrocytes.


However, as we did not identify the components of GBT responsible for these effects, other assays are needed to confirm its genotoxicity.

Guibi-tang; Ames test; Chromosome aberration assay; Micronucleus; Genotoxic