Cytotoxicity of the hinokitiol-related compounds, gamma-thujaplicin and beta-dolabrin

Biol Pharm Bull. 2001 Mar;24(3):299-302. doi: 10.1248/bpb.24.299.


Gamma-thujaplicin and beta-dolabrin, the constituents of the wood of Thujopsis dolabrata Sieb. et Zucc. var. hondai showed strong in vitro cytotoxic effects against the human stomach cancer cell lines KATO-III and Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma. The cytotoxic effects of the two compounds against both tumor cell lines were clear when cell growth was measured by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) method. Gamma-thujaplicin and beta-dolabrin at 0.32 microg/ml inhibited cell growth of human stomach cancer KATO-III by 85 and 67%, and Ehrlich's ascites carcinoma by 91 and 75%, respectively. There is no large difference in cytotoxicity between these compounds, but the activity of gamma-thujaplicin was slightly more potent than that of beta-dolabrin. On the other hand, hinokitiol acetate did not show a cytotoxic effect, suggesting that at least a part of the mechanism of the cytotoxic effect of hinokitiol-related compounds is due to metal chelation between the carbonyl group at C-1 and the hydroxyl group at C-2 in the tropolone skeleton of these molecules. The acute toxicities [50% lethal dose (LD50) value: intraperitoneal injection, Van der Waedem] of gamma-thujaplicin and beta-dolabrin in mice were 277 mg/kg and 232 mg/kg, respectively.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / toxicity
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carcinoma, Ehrlich Tumor / pathology
  • Cycloheptanes / pharmacology*
  • Cycloheptanes / toxicity
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Monoterpenes*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tropolone / analogs & derivatives
  • Tropolone / pharmacology*
  • Tropolone / toxicity
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • 2-hydroxy-5-isopropyl- 2,4,6-cycloheptatrienone
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Cycloheptanes
  • Monoterpenes
  • beta-dolabrin
  • Tropolone
  • beta-thujaplicin