Natural product communications

A comparative study of the antioxidant/prooxidant effects of carvacrol and thymol at various concentrations on membrane and DNA of parental and drug resistant H1299 cells.

PMID 23413548


Carvacrol and thymol, both used as flavor agents in cosmetic and food products, have prooxidant and antioxidant activities. To clarify the mechanisms of their cytotoxicity and the factors affecting their antioxidant/prooxidant activities, we investigated cell membrane and DNA damage induced by carvacrol and thymol in parental and drug-resistant human lung cancer cell lines. After 24 and 48 hour incubation periods, the cytotoxicity of carvacrol (IC50 380 and 244 microM) was found to be higher than that of thymol (IC50 497 and 266 microM) in parental cells. However, thymol showed higher cytotoxic effects in drug resistant H1299 cells for three incubation periods. Also, carvacrol and thymol, at higher concentrations, increased malondealdehyde (MDA) levels causing membrane damage and 8-hydroxy deoxyguanozine (8-OHdG) levels, causing DNA damage to both parental and drug resistant cells. On the other hand, carvacrol and thymol protected the cells against H2O2-induced cytotoxicity, and membrane and DNA damage when the cells were preincubated with these two compounds at lower concentration (< IC50) before H2O2 incubation. These findings suggest that carvacrol and thymol exhibit protective/damaging effects depending on cell resistance, concentration and time.