Radioprotective effects of mistletoe extract in zebrafish embryos in vivo

Chai Hong Rim, Soonil Koun, Hae Chul Park, Suk Lee, Chul Yong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Radioprotectors can enhance the efficacy of cancer radiotherapy, but their clinical use remains uncommon. The present study aimed to assess the radioprotective potential of mistletoe extract (commercial name: Abnoba Viscum), a well-known complementary cancer medicine, in zebrafish larvae. Materials and methods: Wild-type AB zebrafish embryos at 4 h-post-fertilization were exposed to 5 Gy 9-MeV electron beam irradiation after being treated for 1 h with 4 mMl/L amifostine or 0.2 mg/ml Abnoba Viscum A, F, M, or Q. Primary endpoints were abnormality-free survival and abnormality-free rates among survivors at 5 days-post-fertilization. Results: The crude abnormality-free survival rates were 33.7%, 49.0%, 38.8%, 43.9%, 38.1%, and 52.6%, whereas abnormality-free rates among survivors were 36.4%, 49.6%, 37.8%, 45.6%, 52.0%, and 62.8% for the control (with no pharmacologic treatment), amifostine, Abnoba Viscum A, F, M, and Q groups, respectively. Abnormality-free survival rates in the amifostine and Abnoba Viscum Q groups were significantly different from those in the control (p =.040 and.012, respectively), with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.90 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03–3.51] and 2.20 (95% CI: 1.19–4.08), respectively. Abnormality-free rates among survivors in the amifostine and Abnoba Viscum M and Q groups were significantly different from those in the control group (p =.048,.042, and <.001, respectively), with an OR of 1.79 (95% CI: 1.00–3.20), 1.82 (95% CI: 1.02–3.26), and 2.98 (1.67–5.33), respectively. Conclusion: Abnoba Viscum Q has at least a similar radioprotective effect to that of amifostine. Mistletoe extracts have been clinically applied for a long time and their effectiveness and feasibility have been verified. Abnoba Viscum Q might be a new candidate radioprotectant to enhance cancer radiotherapy efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1159
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 3


  • Zebrafish
  • mistletoe
  • radioprotectant
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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