, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 149–157 | Cite as

The effect of carvacrol on healthy neurons and N2a cancer cells: some biochemical, anticancerogenicity and genotoxicity studies

  • Elanur Aydın
  • Hasan Türkez
  • M. Sait Keleş
Original Research


Carvacrol (CVC) is a phenolic monoterpene present in many essential oils of medicinal and aromatic plants and has attracted attention because of its beneficial biological activities. To date, although various biological activities of CVC have been demonstrated, its neurotoxicity on cultured primary rat neurons and N2a neuroblastoma cells has never been explored. Therefore, in this present study, we aimed to describe in vitro antiproliferative and/or cytotoxic properties (by 3-(4,5 dimetylthiazol -2-yl)-2,5 diphenlytetrazolium bromide (MTT) test), genotoxic damage potentials (by single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) or Comet assay) and antioxidant activities (by total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and total oxidative stress (TOS) analysis) of CVC in vitro. Dose (0–400 mg/L) dependent effects of CVC were tested on both cultured primary rat neurons and N2a neuroblastoma cells. Statistical analysis of MTT assay results indicated significant (p < 0.05) decreases of cell proliferation rates in both cell types treated with CVC at 200 and 400 mg/L. On the other hand, the mean values of the total scores of cells showing DNA damage (for comet assay) was not found significantly different from the control values for both cells (p > 0.05). In addition, our results indicated that 10, 25 and 50 mg/L of CVC treatment caused increases of TAC levels in cultured primary rat neurons but not in the N2a cell line. However, CVC treatments led to increases of TOS levels in cultured primary rat neurons at only 400 mg/L while they led to increases of TOS levels in N2a neuroblastoma cells at 200 and 400 mg/L. The present findings demonstrated that CVC could be a source of antioxidant and chemopreventive activities to be studied on cancer diseases.


Carvacrol Neurotoxicity Cell viability N2a neuroblastoma cell line Comet assay Oxidative status MTT assay 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceAtaturk UniversityErzurumTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of ScienceErzurum Technical UniversityErzurumTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineAtaturk UniversityErzurumTurkey

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