To investigate the most effective compound of C. ambrosiodes
essential oil for the induction
of cell death in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7), and the mechanism of induction.
MCF-7 cells were treated with essential oil and its two main components, 1-isopropyl-4-
methylbenzene and α-terpinene, respectively, for 24 and 48 h in vitro. To determine their cytotoxicity on
MCF-7 cells, in vitro cytotoxicity, 3-(4, 5-dimethylthaizol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT)
assay and live/dead cell fluorescent staining were used. MCF-7 cellular superoxide dismutase (SOD),
catalase (CAT) vitality and malondialdehyde (MDA) content were also evaluated.
MTT results showed that essential oil and its two main compositions significantly inhibited the
growth of MCF-7 cells in 24 h (p < 0.05), which was consistent with the Live/dead cell fluorescent
staining results. After 24 h incubation the average inhibition rate is 58.98 % for essential oil, 37.8 % for
1-isopropyl-4-methylbenzene and 32.09 % for α-terpinene. With increase in the concentration of
essential oil and the two main components, the relative activity of SOD significantly decreased (p <
0.05), while the relative activity of CAT was gradually increased (p < 0.05), compared with control. MDA
relative content significantly increased (p < 0.05) until the concentration was 1.25, 0.21 and 0.17 μg/ml
for essential oil , 1-isopropyl-4-methylbenzene and α-terpinene , and thereafter significantly decreased
(p < 0.05) , compared to control.
The data suggest that the essential oil of C. ambrosioides
and its two main components
inhibit MCF-7 cell proliferation cell death by inducing oxidative damage. However, the two main
components are less effective in their anticancer activity than the essential oil