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In vitro and in vivo toxicity of grapefruit seed extract

Carolina Cardoso Guedes, Olga Maria Silverio Amancio, Sandra Kalil Bussadori, Elaine Marcilio Santos, Vanessa Christina Santos Pavesi, Manoela Domingues Martins

(Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Med Sci Tech 2013; 54:65-69

DOI: 10.12659/MST.889242


Background: Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) has been used in clinical practice, but there are no studies in the literature that prove its effectiveness and safe use. The aim of the present study was to assess the in vitro and in vivo toxicity of a commercial grapefruit seed extract.
Material and Methods: The experimental groups were 0.1% GSE, 0.15% GSE, 0.2% GSE, 0.5% GSE, 0.12% chlorhexidine, and control (in vitro study) or sham (in vivo study). The in vitro analysis was performed on fibroblast cultures (NIH-3T3) at 1, 3, 5, and 7 days to evaluate cell survival. In the test performed on rats, polyethylene tubes containing the substances were implanted in connective tissue; histological analysis of tissue samples was performed at 1, 7, 15, 30, and 60 days.
Results: Both the GSE and chlorhexidine proved cytotoxic, with a greater concentration leading to greater toxicity for fibroblasts. In the connective tissue, GSE caused severe inflammation on the first day at all concentrations. Over time, the inflammation subsided until reaching values similar to the sham group.
Conclusions: At the concentrations studied, GSE exhibits toxicity for cells and connective tissue. Further studies are needed to assess the harm this product may cause to human tissue and determine a safe dosage for its use, as well as to determine if a lower concentration still has the desired antimicrobial potential attributed to GSE.

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