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Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Oct;23(5):549-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.2009.00738.x. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

Citral inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 cells.

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Service of Laboratory, National Institute for Oncology, Rabat, Morocco.


Many natural components of plants extract are studied for their beneficial effects on health and particularly on carcinogenesis chemoprevention. In this study, we investigated the effect of citral (3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadienal), a key component of essential oils extracted from several herbal plants, on the proliferation rate, cell cycle distribution, and apoptosis of the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. The effects of this compound were also tested on cyclo-oxygenase activity. Citral treatment caused inhibition of MCF-7 cell growth (IC(50)-48 h: 18 x 10(-5)m), with a cycle arrest in G(2)/M phase and apoptosis induction. Moreover, we observed a decrease in prostaglandin E(2) synthesis 48 h after citral treatment. These findings suggest that citral has a potential chemopreventive effect.

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