Anacardium occidentale nut shell liquid has been used for decades especially by natives of South America, Asia and Africa in the treatment of topical skin diseases, abrasion and cancerous ulcers amongst others. Chronic exposure to sunlight can lead to skin damages including erythema, edema, hyperplasia, formation of sunburn cells, photo-aging, suppression of the immune system and skin cancer. This study was aimed at evaluating the effect of methanol extract of A. occidentale nut shell liquid on UV radiation (UVR) induced skin damage and cancer initiation. Gas chromatography and mass spectroscopic (GC-MS) analysis was carried out on the extract. Skin damage was induced by exposing the hairless part of the experimental animals directly to UVR (180 mJ/cm2 daily) for 42 days alongside treatment with the extract. Percentage weight gain, relative organ weight, lipid peroxidation and histological studies were carried out. The methanol extract of CNS as determined by GC-MS analysis contains 1,2,3-Benzenetriol and benzofuran. A normal skin tissue and hepatocyte was observed in the normal control, severe wrinkling of skin epithelium with actinic keratosis of the dermal collagen and marked venous congestion in the liver of the negative control and complete recovery in the group treated with 300 mg/kg of the extract was observed. This study suggests that the administration of the extract exhibited a chemopreventive effect against skin damage which could lead to cancer initiation stage resulting from ultraviolet radiation by preventing its detrimental impact on the epidermis.
Key words: Anacardium occidentale (Cashew), chemo-preventive effect, bioactive compounds, skin damage, ultra-violet radiation.
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