Journal of natural medicines

Hinesol, a compound isolated from the essential oils of Atractylodes lancea rhizome, inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells.

PMID 25833731


Hinesol is a unique sesquiterpenoid isolated from the Chinese traditional medicine, Atractylodes lancea rhizome. In a previous study, we screened various natural products in human leukemia HL-60 cells and identified an essential oil fraction from A. lancea rhizome that exhibited apoptosis-inducing activity in these cells; hinesol was subsequently shown to be the compound responsible for this apoptosis-inducing activity. In this study, we describe the cytotoxic effects and molecular mechanisms of hinesol in HL-60 cells. The antitumor effect of hinesol was associated with apoptosis. When HL-60 cells were treated with hinesol, characteristic features of apoptosis, such as nuclear fragmentation and DNA fragmentation, were observed. These growth-inhibitory and apoptosis-inducing activities of hinesol in leukemia cells were much stronger than those of β-eudesmol, another compound isolated from the essential oil fraction. Furthermore, hinesol induced activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but not p38, prior to the onset of apoptosis. These results suggested that hinesol induced apoptosis through the JNK signaling pathway in HL-60 cells. Therefore, hinesol may represent a novel medicinal drug having indications in the treatment of various cancers, including leukemia.