Abstract Title:

Verbena officinalis essential oil and its component citral as apoptotic-inducing agent in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Abstract Source:

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2009 Oct-Dec;22(4):1097-104. PMID: 20074474

Abstract Author(s):

L De Martino, G D'Arena, M M Minervini, S Deaglio, B M Fusco, N Cascavilla, V De Feo

Article Affiliation:

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.


We evaluated the pro-apoptotic activity of Verbena officinalis essential oil and of its main component citral, on lymphocytes collected from normal blood donors and patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The number of apoptotic cells was greater in CLL patients than in healthy subjects at all different times of incubation (4, 8 and 24 hours) for samples treated with Verbena officinalis essential oil (A) and citral (B) as well vs controls at different concentrations (0.1% and 0.01%). The greater pro-apoptotic ability was shown by both essential oil of Verbena officinalis and citral at lower concentrations (after 4 h A 0.1%: 17.8% vs 37.1%; A 0.01%: 15.8% vs 52%; B 0.1%: 18.4% vs 46.4%; B 0.01%: 15.8% vs 54.2%; after 8 h A 0.1%: 23% vs 38%; A 0.01%: 22.2% vs 55%; B 0.1%: 32% vs 42.2%; B 0.01%: 22% vs 54.3%; after 24 h A 0.1%: 5% vs 20.7%; A 0.01%: 25.8% vs 47.2%; B 0.1%: 18.4% vs 46.4%; B 0.01%: 15.8% vs 54.2%). Patients carrying deletion 17p13 (p53 mutation) showed a reduced ability to undergo apoptosis with respect to patients with other genomic aberrations or normal karyotype. The proapoptotic activity of Verbena officinalis essential oil and citral is thought to be due to a direct procaspase 3 activation. These data further support evidence that indicate natural compounds as a possible lead structure to develop new therapeutic agents.

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