neroli essential oil in scientific research


  • Nerolidol induces G1 phase arrest to reduce the proliferation of rat leiomyoma cells;
  • The inhibitory effect of nerolidol depends on reactive oxygen species generation;
  • Nerolidol induces DNA damage in rat leiomyoma cells;
  • Nerolidol reduces the activation of ATM/Akt kinases;
  • Inhibition of ATM mimics the effect of nerolidol in leiomyoma cells.

Nerolidol (3,7,11-trimethyl-1,6,10-dodecatrien-3-ol), a sesquiterpene alcohol present in aromatic essential oils of numerous plants, has been reported to possess anticancer activity.

The potential therapeutic effect of nerolidol on uterine fibroids (UF), the most common benign tumor of the uterus worldwide, is unknown. In this study, we examined the anti-UF potential of nerolidol in ELT3 cells, a rat leiomyoma cell line widely used as an in vitro model, to identify the potential therapeutic agents for UF.

We observed that treatment with cis- or trans-nerolidol inhibited cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner and induced cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, which was accompanied by reduction in Akt phosphorylation and downregulation of cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4), and CDK6 protein expression.

The proliferation-inhibiting activity of nerolidol correlated with the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), which was suppressed by N-acetyl-l-cysteine, a ROS inhibitor. Nerolidol treatment also increased the percentage of cells for which tail moment could be calculated using an alkaline comet assay, and induced p-γH2AXser139 expression, which indicated induction of DNA damage.

We also observed downregulation of ATM and its phosphorylation after nerolidol treatment; furthermore, treatment with KU-55933, an ATM kinase inhibitor, mimicked the inhibitory effects of nerolidol treatment on cell proliferation and Akt phosphorylation. In conclusion, nerolidol displayed anti-UF activity in a leiomyoma cell model via ROS-induced DNA damage and G1 phase cell cycle arrest by inhibiting the expression and activation of the ATM/Akt pathway. Our data suggests that nerolidol is a potential therapeutic agent for UF.

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