The Cytotoxic Effects of Thymol as the Major Component of Trachyspermum ammi on Breast Cancer (MCF-7) Cells

  • Hasan Rezaei Seresht
  • Bushra Jabbar Albadry
  • Aseel Kamil Mohammed Al-mosawi
  • Omid Gholami
  • Hamid CheshomiEmail author

Natural phenolic compounds have inhibition effects on various malignancies. Thymol is one of these compounds present in several plant sources such as ajowan (Trachyspermum ammi) fruits. In this study, thymol was evaluated for its potential cytotoxic activity as well as its effect on apoptotic gene expression in breast cancer cell line. We used the GC-MS technique to identify the essential oil constituents of ajowan. MCF-7 cells were treated by various concentrations of thymol and half maximum inhibitory concentration (IC50) was evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. In addition, morphological alterations and changes of P21, P53 and Mcl-1 gene expression in MCF-7 cells were investigated by microscopic examination and real-time RT-PCR assay. Data from MTT assay indicated that the IC50 values of thymol on MCF-7 cells for 48 h and 72 h were 54 and 62 μg/mL, respectively. Furthermore, this compound significantly affected gene expressions of P53 and P21, but not Mcl-1. Thymol can induce the apoptosis process in MCF-7, and hence it can be considered an anticancer agent in the future.


thymol ajowan MCF-7 cells P21 P53 



We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences to provide this wonderful opportunity and good facilities to carry out this study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hasan Rezaei Seresht
    • 1
  • Bushra Jabbar Albadry
    • 2
  • Aseel Kamil Mohammed Al-mosawi
    • 3
  • Omid Gholami
    • 3
  • Hamid Cheshomi
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Traditional and Complementary Medicine Research CenterSabzevar University of Medical SciencesSabzevarIran
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Science of CollegeUniversity of Thi QarThi QarIraq
  3. 3.Cellular and Molecular Research CenterSabzevar University of Medical SciencesSabzevarIran
  4. 4.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran

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