Monday, September 12, 2011

Phytochemicals:13 Health Benefits of Monoterpenes

Monoterpenes are a class of terpenes belonging to the family of phytochemial, containing Limonene and Perillyl alcohol found in the essential oils of many plants including fruits, vegetables, and herbs. They have been used in traditional herbal medicine as an anti bacterial agent and a diuretic and for pulmonary afflictions.

1. Cancers
According to the study of "Cancer chemoprevention and therapy by monoterpenes." by
M N Gould (source from Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53792, USA. posted in Environ Health Perspect. 1997 June; 105(Suppl 4): 977–979., researcher found that These and other alterations in the gene expression of mammary carcinomas lead to a G1 cell cycle block, followed by apoptosis, redifferentiation, and finally complete tumor regression in which tumor parenchyma is replaced by stromal elements. It is likely that monoterpenes prevent mammary cancer during their progression stage by mechanisms similar to those that occur during therapy. In contrast, prevention of mammary cancer by polycyclic hydrocarbons such as 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene occur by the induction of detoxifying phase II hepatic enzymes.

2. Preclinical renal cancer
In a study of "Preclinical renal cancer chemopreventive efficacy of geraniol by modulation of multiple molecular pathways." by Ahmad ST, Arjumand W, Seth A, Nafees S, Rashid S, Ali N, Sultana S.(Source from Section of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention, Department of Medical Elementology and Toxicology, Faculty of Science, Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University), Hamdard Nagar, New Delhi 110062, India.) posted in PubMed, researchers found that Chemopreventive effects of an acyclic monoterpene alcohol (GOH) were associated with upregulation of xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme activities and down regulation of serum toxicity markers. GOH was able to down regulate expression of Kim-1, NFκB, PCNA, P53 along with induction of apoptosis. However, higher dose of GOH was more effective in modulating these multiple molecular targets both at transcriptional and protein level. These results provide a powerful evidence for the chemopreventive efficacy of GOH against renal carcinogenesis possibly by modulation of multiple molecular pathways.

3. Antioxidant and 4. Anti-acetylcholinesterase
According to the researche of " Antioxidant and antiacetylcholinesterase activities of some commercial essential oils and their major compounds." Aazza S, Lyoussi B, Miguel MG. (Source from Laboratory of Physiology-Pharmacology-Environmental Health, Faculty of Sciences Dhar El Mehraz, BP 1796 Atlas, University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, Fez 30 000, Morocco. posted in PubMed, researchers found that The best antioxidant was T. vulgaris oil, independent of the method used, mainly due to the presence of the phenolic monoterpenes thymol and carvacrol, which when studied as single compounds also presented the best activities. Concerning the acetylcholinesterase inhibition activity, E. globulus was the most effective. Nevertheless its main components 1,8-cineole and limonene were not the most active, a feature that corresponded to d-3-carene.

5. Alzheimer's disease
In a study of "Myrtenal inhibits acetylcholinesterase, a known Alzheimer target. by Kaufmann D, Dogra AK, Wink M. (Source from Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Department of Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, The School of Pharmacy, University of London, London, UK.), posted in PubMed, researchers indicated that in this study selected components of essential oils, which carry a variety of important functional groups, were tested for their in-vitro anti-acetylcholinesterase activity and found that 1,8-cineole, carvacrol, myrtenal and verbenone apparently inhibited AChE; the highest inhibitory activity was observed for myrtenal (IC50 = 0.17 mm). This is the first study showing the AChE inhibitory activity of myrtenal. Conclusions  Our investigations provided evidence for the efficacy of monoterpenes as inhibitors of AChE (Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase ).

6. Immunological response
According to the study of " Augmentation of humoral and cell mediated immune responses by Thujone. by Siveen KS, Kuttan G., posted in PubMed, researchers found that Thujone, a naturally occurring monoterpene, could enhance the immune response of mice. There was a significant reduction in solid tumor development, mediated by the presence of alert immune responses during Thujone administration.

7. Antibacterial properties
In a study of "Antimicrobial activity of Hedeoma drummondii against opportunistic pathogens." by Viveros-Valdez E, Rivas-Morales C, Oranday-Cardenas A, Verde-Star MJ, Carranza-Rosales P. (Source from Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico.) [posted in PubMed, researchers found that The activity of hexanic extract may be attributed mainly to the presence of the monoterpenes pulegone and menthol. In conclusion, the hexanic extract possess relevant antibacterial properties which suggests that H. drummondii have bioactive principles; these new data provide scientific support for the use of this plant in traditional medicine, particularly for gastrointestinal diseases.

8. Neuroprotective effects
According to the study of "Neuroprotective effects of alpinia katsumadai against neuronal damage in the gerbil hippocampus induced by transient cerebral ischemia. by Li H, Yoo KY, Lee CH, Choi JH, Hwang IK, Kim JD, Kim YM, Kang IJ, Won MH. (Source from Department of Neurobiology, School of Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, South Korea.) posted in PubMed, researchers found that Alpinia katsumadai, one of the family Zingiberaceae, contains chalcone, flavonoids, diarylheptanoids, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenoids, stilbenes, and labdanes extract (EAKS) could protect neurons from an ischemic damage, showing that glial activation is markedly decreased in the ischemic area.

9. Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
In a study of "Terpinen-4-ol Induces Apoptosis in Human Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer In Vitro and In Vivo." by Wu CS, Chen YJ, Chen JJ, Shieh JJ, Huang CH, Lin PS, Chang GC, Chang JT, Lin CC. (Source from Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 80708, Taiwan.) posted in PubMed, researchers found that intratumoral administration of terpinen-4-ol, a monoterpene component of the essential oils of several aromatic plants, significantly suppressed the growth of s.c. A549 xenografts by inducing apoptosis, as confirmed by TUNEL assay. Collectively, these data provide insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying terpinen-4-ol-induced apoptosis in NSCLC cells, rendering this compound a potential anticancer drug for NSCLC.

10. Acute lung injury (ALI)
According to the study of "Paeoniflorin protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury in mice by alleviating inflammatory cell infiltration and microvascular permeability." by
Zhou H, Bian D, Jiao X, Wei Z, Zhang H, Xia Y, He Y, Dai Y. (Source from Department of Pharmacology of Chinese Materia Medica, China Pharmaceutical University, 24 Tong Jia Xiang, Nanjing, 210009, China.) posted in PubMed, researchers found that paeoniflorin (PF), a monoterpene glycoside isolated from the roots of Paeonia lactiflora Pallas,alleviate ALI, and the underlying mechanisms are probably attributed to decreasing the production of proinflammatory cytokines through down-regulation of the activation of p38, JNK and NF-κB pathways in lung tissues.

11. Hepatocarcinoma
In a study of "Geraniol and simvastatin show a synergistic effect on a human hepatocarcinoma cell line." by Polo MP, Crespo R, Bravo MG. (Source from Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata (INIBIOLP), CONICET-UNLP, CCT-La Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, La Plata, Argentina; Cátedra de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina.), posted in PubMed, researchers found that the combination of simvastatin and geraniol (a monoterpene) synergistically inhibited cholesterol biosynthesis and proliferation of Hep G2 cell line, contributing to a better understanding of the action of a component of essential oils targeting a complex metabolic pathway, which would improve the use of drugs or their combination in the fight against cancer and/or cardiovascular diseases. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

12. Antimicrobial and 13. Free-radical-scavenging activities
In a study of "Phytochemical analysis and in vitro antimicrobial and free-radical-scavenging activities of the essential oils from Euryops arabicus and Laggera decurrens." by Mothana RA, Alsaid MS, Al-Musayeib NM. (Source from Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. researchers found that The oil also contained a high content of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (24.1%). Compounds such as caryophyllene oxide (8.6%), T-cadinol (7.0%), spathulenol (5.2%), (E)-β-caryophyllene (6.0%) and 2-epi-(E)-β-caryophyllene (6.0%) were the main constituents of the oil. Oxygenated monoterpenes also predominated in L. decurrens (46.3%). The thymoquinone-derivative, 3-methoxy-2-methyl-5-(1-methylethyl)-2,5-cyclohexadiene-1,4-dione (28.1%), thymol (5.7%) and eudesma-11-en-4a-ol (7.0%) were the most abundant constituents. Both essential oils showed antimicrobial activity with MIC-values between 0.13-5.25 mg/mL. Furthermore, only the essential oil of L. decurrens exhibited a strong antioxidant activity (91%) at 500 µg/mL.

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