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Phytother Res. 2007 Mar;21(3):259-61.

In vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory properties of thymol, carvacrol and their derivatives thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone.

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Faculty of Chemistry and Technology, Department of Biochemistry, University of Split, Teslina 10/V, 21000 Split, Croatia.


The aim of this study was to examine in vitro the inhibitory activity exerted by the main constituents of essential oil obtained from the aromatic plant Thymus vulgaris L. on acetylcholinesterase (AChE). The total essential oil and selected compounds, specifically linalool and thymol, carvacrol and their derivatives thymoquinone and thymohydroquinone, were tested for AChE inhibition. Thymohydroquinone exhibited the strongest AChE inhibitory effect over the range of concentrations. The AChE inhibitory potential decreased in the following order: thymohydroquinone > carvacrol > thymoquinone > essential oil > thymol > linalool. It is interesting that the AChE inhibitory effect exerted by carvacrol was 10 times stronger than that exerted by its isomer thymol, although thymol and carvacrol have a very similar structure.

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