Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 332–339 | Cite as

Hinesol, a compound isolated from the essential oils of Atractylodes lancea rhizome, inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells

  • Yutaka Masuda
  • Takayuki Kadokura
  • Maki Ishii
  • Kimihiko Takada
  • Junichi Kitajima
Original Paper


Hinesol is a unique sesquiterpenoid isolated from the Chinese traditional medicine, Atractylodes lancea rhizome. In a previous study, we screened various natural products in human leukemia HL-60 cells and identified an essential oil fraction from A. lancea rhizome that exhibited apoptosis-inducing activity in these cells; hinesol was subsequently shown to be the compound responsible for this apoptosis-inducing activity. In this study, we describe the cytotoxic effects and molecular mechanisms of hinesol in HL-60 cells. The antitumor effect of hinesol was associated with apoptosis. When HL-60 cells were treated with hinesol, characteristic features of apoptosis, such as nuclear fragmentation and DNA fragmentation, were observed. These growth-inhibitory and apoptosis-inducing activities of hinesol in leukemia cells were much stronger than those of β-eudesmol, another compound isolated from the essential oil fraction. Furthermore, hinesol induced activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), but not p38, prior to the onset of apoptosis. These results suggested that hinesol induced apoptosis through the JNK signaling pathway in HL-60 cells. Therefore, hinesol may represent a novel medicinal drug having indications in the treatment of various cancers, including leukemia.


Atractylodes lancea rhizome Apoptosis Essential oil Hinesol HL-60 cells JNK 



This work was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of the Japanese Government. The authors would also like to thank all of the researchers who were involved in the research.

Conflict of interest

None declared.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yutaka Masuda
    • 1
  • Takayuki Kadokura
    • 1
  • Maki Ishii
    • 1
  • Kimihiko Takada
    • 1
  • Junichi Kitajima
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Clinical PharmacyShowa Pharmaceutical UniversityMachidaJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Kampo Medicinal EducationShowa Pharmaceutical UniversityMachidaJapan

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