Effects of limonene and essential oil from Citrus aurantium on gastric mucosa: role of prostaglandins and gastric mucus secretion

Chem Biol Interact. 2009 Aug 14;180(3):499-505. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 May 3.


Essential oil from Citrus aurantium and the monoterpene limonene are widely used flavoring agents that are found in some common food items. This specie is also used medicinally throughout the world to treat gastritis and gastric disorders. Therefore, biological assays were performed in vivo on essential oil of C. aurantium (OEC) and its majority compound limonene (LIM) to evaluate their effect on gastric mucosa. The OEC (250 mg/kg, p.o.) and LIM (245 mg/kg, p.o.) provided effective (99%) gastroprotection against lesions induced by absolute ethanol and NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) in rats. OEC and LIM do not interfere with gastric H(+) secretion, serum gastrin or glutathione (GSH) level in gastric mucosa. But the gastroprotective action of OEC and LIM occurs due to an increase in the gastric mucus production induced by conserving the basal PGE(2) levels after challenge by agents harmful to the gastric mucosa. Given that LIM and OEC are excellent flavoring agents and also present gastroprotective actions, they can be regarded as a promising target for the development of a new drug for the prevention of gastric damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Cyclohexenes / administration & dosage
  • Cyclohexenes / pharmacology*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Limonene
  • Male
  • Mucus / metabolism
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Prostaglandins / metabolism
  • Prostaglandins / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stomach Ulcer / chemically induced
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Terpenes / administration & dosage
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclohexenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Prostaglandins
  • Terpenes
  • Ethanol
  • Limonene