Effects of carvacrol on human fibroblast (WS-1) and gastric adenocarcinoma (AGS) cells in vitro and on Wistar rats in vivo.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2018 Nov ;448(1-2):237-249. Epub 2018 Feb 13. PMID: 29442269
Carvacrol is a natural phenolic compound found in essential oils of Lamiaceae species. In the present study, an attempt has been made to elucidate the mechanism behind the anti-cancer potential of carvacrol on human gastric adenocarcinomas (AGS) by comparing its effects on cancer cells AGS to those on normal human fibroblast (WS-1) cells, in vitro. Cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, glutathione (GSH) levels, genotoxicity, and apoptotic effects of carvacrol (0-600 µM) were studied in both cell lines. Additionally, the effect of high dose carvacrol (100 mg/kg BW) on the oxidative status was investigated in vivo. For this purpose, carvacrol was administered orally to male Wistar rats over a period of 60 days. Rats were weighed regularly. At the end of theexperiment, rats were euthanized. Blood and stomach tissues were collected for biochemical and pathological examinations. The in vitro results showed significant differences in cell viability of AGS compared to WS-1 cells exposed to carvacrol. Also the extent of ROS generation, GSH reduction and DNAdamage differed significantly between the cell lines studied (P ≤ 0.001). The differences observed were statistically significant at all concentrations applied (P ≤ 0.001). The results found in AGS cells were mirrored in the pathohistological findings obtained from animals of the in vivo experimental group. Changes in body weight, and oxidative stress index for plasma and stomach tissues of animals in this group were found to differ statistically significant from those found in the control group of Wistar rats (P ≤ 0.001). The data obtained from our present study uncovered that carvacrol has the potential to cause toxic effects in both, AGS and WS-1 cells but more effectively in cancer cells than in normal cells. The carvacrol-mediated responses observed in the in vitro and in vivo experiments presented suggest a double-edged pro-oxidative effect. Via this mechanism carvacrol induced cytotoxicity, apoptosis, and DNA damage in a dose-dependent manner in both cancer and normal cells and these activities were higher in cancer cells than those of normal cells.