Anti-angiogenic properties of carnosol and carnosic acid, two major dietary compounds from rosemary

Eur J Nutr. 2013 Feb;52(1):85-95. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0289-x. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Background: The use of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves and their constituents as a source of dietary antioxidants and flavoring agents is continuously growing. Carnosol and carnosic acid, two major components of rosemary extracts, have shown activity for cancer prevention and therapy.

Aim of the study: In this study, we investigate the cytotoxic and anti-angiogenic activities of carnosol and carnosic acid, in order to get further insight into their mechanism of action.

Results: Our results demonstrate that the mentioned diterpenes inhibit certain functions of endothelial cells, namely, differentiation, proliferation, migration and proteolytic capability. Our data indicate that their growth inhibitory effect, exerted on proliferative endothelial and tumor cells, could be due to, at least in part, an induction of apoptosis. Inhibition of the mentioned essential steps of in vitro angiogenesis agrees with the observed inhibition of the in vivo angiogenesis, substantiated by using the chick chorioallantoic membrane assay.

Conclusions: The anti-angiogenic activity of carnosol and carnosic acid could contribute to the chemopreventive, antitumoral and antimetastatic activities of rosemary extracts and suggests their potential in the treatment of other angiogenesis-related malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abietanes / chemistry
  • Abietanes / pharmacology*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cattle
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / drug effects
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Drug Combinations
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Laminin / drug effects
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Proteoglycans / drug effects
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Rosmarinus / chemistry*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / metabolism


  • Abietanes
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antioxidants
  • Drug Combinations
  • Laminin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proteoglycans
  • matrigel
  • carnosol
  • Collagen
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • salvin