Extensive research has shown that a high plasma concentration and oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) has an important role in atherogenesis. The affinity of LDL to its classic receptor is reduced due to oxidation. Instead, it is taken up by scavenger molecules in macrophages, as a result of which foam cells are formed that have a major role in increasing the subendothelial fat layers of the blood vessels. In the present study the antioxidant effect of eight volatile compounds in plant essences, namely, anethol, eugenol, limonen, linalool, p-cymol, pulegon, thymol, and geraniol, and their effect on the affinities of intact and oxidized (with Cu+2) LDL for LDL receptor in sheep adrenal tissue cells in the presence of labeled LDL with fluorescein isothiocynate (FITC) were investigated. The results obtained show that eugenol and thymol have the highest antioxidant effect, on the uptake of LDL (intact and oxidized) by the adrenal cells. The order of the compounds studied with regard to their antioxidant effect on intact and oxidized LDL is as follows:
On intact LDL: eugenol ≥ thymol > linalool >p-cymol > limonen > geraniol > anethol; on oxidized LDL: thymol ≥ eugenol > geraniol >p-cymol > linalool > pulegon.
Our findings also show that the compounds, particularly thymol and eugenol, have an antioxidant property and can change the affinity of the LDL particles for the LDL receptor probably due to their lipophylic property. Further research may prove that these compounds can be used clinically, especially in atherosclerotic and hypercholesterolemic cases. (Mol Cell Biochem 267: 59–66, 2004)
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Naderi, G.A., Asgary, S., Ani, M. et al. Effect of some volatile oils on the affinity of intact and oxidized low-density lipoproteins for adrenal cell surface receptors. Mol Cell Biochem 267, 59–66 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:MCBI.0000049365.60694.81