Saloua Kouass Sahbani

  • Designation: Assistant Professor in Taibah University and Head of Quality and Development
  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Title: Protective Effect of Cactus Cladode Extract Against Gamma Radiation-Induced DNA Damage


Saloua Kouass Sahbani graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sherbrooke, where I completed my Ph.D. thesis working in the laboratories of Pr. Darel Hunting and Pr. Léon Sanche in radiation science and biomedical imaging. I am an assistant professor in Taibah University and head of quality and development since 2015.


Radiation therapy is very effective in treating many malignancies. It is known that radiation induces acute and late damage on the normal cells, which initiates energy deposition and Reactive Oxygen Species generation. It activates response transcription factors and signals transduction pathways and leads to molecular changes and damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins. In recent years, much interest has been centered on identifying novel antioxidants from natural sources. One of the leading research focuses on developing human diets and the preventive role of antioxidants in various oxidative stress-related conditions. It is known that the cactus Opuntia ficus indica, which grows all over semiarid countries and is mainly cultivated for its fruit (cactus pear) and cladode, is rich in nutritional compounds.

Our study aimed to report the effectiveness of the Cladode cactus extract (CCE) in protecting DNA plasmid (pGEM-3Zf-) against gamma radiation. Aqueous solutions of the samples were irradiated with 137Cs X-rays at various doses in the absence or presence of CCE. The yields of gamma-radiation-induced single-strand breaks (SSBs) and DSBs were measured by gel electrophoresis. Gel electrophoresis analysis shows that the aqueous CCE prevents radiation-induced DNA damage. Our results indicate that the antioxidant of CCE would support biological resistance to free radicals, suggesting the capacity of this extract to play a role in the antigenotoxic, antiapoptotic, and anti-nephrotoxic effects of CCE. The protective effect of CCE makes them promising candidates for further studies designed to obtain more evidence on their components with potential radio-preventive activity.

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