Objective: Ionizing radiation produces free radicals which induce DNA damage and cell death. Origanum vulgare
leaf extract (OVLE) is a natural compound and its capability of scavenging free radicals and its antioxidant activity have been demonstrated by many researchers. In this study, using micronucleus assay, radioprotective effect of OVLE against clastogenic and cytotoxic effect of gamma irradiation has been investigated in mice bone marrow cells. Materials and Methods: OVLE was injected intraperitoneally to the BALB/c mice 1hr prior to gamma irradiation (3Gy) at the doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg. Twenty four hours after irradiation or treatment, animals were killed and smears were prepared from the bone marrow cells. The slides were stained with May Grunwald–Giemsa method and analyzed microscopically. The frequency of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (MnPCEs), micronucleated normochromatic erythrocyte (MnNCEs) and cell proliferation ratio PCE/PCE+NCE (polychromatic erythrocyte/polychromatic erythrocyte + normochromatic erythrocyte) were calculated. Results: The results showed that gamma irradiation (3Gy) increased the frequency of MnPCEs, MnNCEs and reduced the PCE/PCE+NCE ratio in mice bone marrow compared to the non-irradiated control group (p< 0.0001). Injection of OVLE significantly reduced the frequency of MnPCEs (p< 0.0001) and MnNCEs (p< 0.05) and increased the PCE/PCE+NCE ratio as compared to the irradiated control group (p< 0.05). Conclusion: It seems that OVLE with its antioxidant properties and its capability of scavenging free radicals and reactive oxygen species can reduce the cytotoxic effects of gamma irradiation in mice bone marrow cells.