Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) is a well-defined plant extract that directly scavenges hydroxyl radicals. It is a potent antioxidant that inhibits apoptosis in cultured cells and is effective in treating mild-to-moderate dementia in Alzheimer patients. Apoptosis is an active process of cell destruction and it plays an important role in pathological processes. The aim of this study is to investigate the anti-apoptotic effect of EGb 761 in gossypol-treated human lymphocytes. Pretreatment of lymphocytes with 10 mu g/ml EGb 761 for 30 min or I h decreased the percentage of apoptosis to 17.5% and 20%, respectively. EGb 761 treatment (25-150 mu g/ral) decreased the level of apoptosis to a plateau between 8 and 10% of the control values. We conclude that E. Gb 761 reduces gossypol-induced apoptosis in human lymphocytes. (c) 2005 International Federation for Cell Biology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.