Dietary supplementation of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) essential oil during the lifetime of the rat: its effects on the antioxidant status in liver, kidney and heart tissues

Mech Ageing Dev. 1999 Sep 8;109(3):163-75. doi: 10.1016/s0047-6374(99)00033-0.


This study aimed not only to identify age-related changes in certain antioxidant systems, but to assess whether dietary supplementation of thyme oil could address the unfavourable antioxidant-pro-oxidant balance that occurs with age. The present study has shown that there were significant declines in the superoxide dismutase activities in the liver and heart of old rats, although kidney showed no decline. Liver glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) activity was found to have increased significantly in old rats, while a significant decrease was observed in kidney. Heart GSHPX activity was not found to differ significantly between young and old rats. There were also significant declines in the total antioxidant status in each tissue examined. A general feature of these various antioxidant parameters measured was that their activities remained higher in rats whose diets were supplemented with thyme oil, suggesting that they retained a more favourable antioxidant capacity during their life span.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lamiaceae
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Organ Size
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fats
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase