Essential oil from lemon peels inhibit key enzymes linked to neurodegenerative conditions and pro-oxidant induced lipid peroxidation

J Oleo Sci. 2014;63(4):373-81. doi: 10.5650/jos.ess13166. Epub 2014 Mar 5.


This study sought to investigate the effects of essential oil from lemon (Citrus limoni) peels on acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activities in vitro. The essential oil was extracted by hydrodistillation, dried with anhydrous Na2SO4 and characterized using gas chromatography. Antioxidant properties of the oil and inhibition of pro-oxidant-induced lipid peroxidation in rats brain homogenate were also assessed. The essential oil inhibited AChE and BChE activities in a concentration-dependent manner. GC analysis revealed the presence of sabinene, limonene, α-pinene, β-pinene, neral, geranial, 1,8-cineole, linalool, borneol, α-terpineol, terpinen-4-ol, linalyl acetate and β-caryophyllene. Furthermore, the essential oil exhibited antioxidant activities as typified by ferric reducing property, Fe(2+)-chelation and radicals [DPPH, ABTS, OH, NO] scavenging abilities. The inhibition of AChE and BChE activities, inhibition of pro-oxidant induced lipid peroxidation and antioxidant activities could be possible mechanisms for the use of the essential oil in the management and prevention of oxidative stress-induced neurodegeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants*
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Butyrylcholinesterase*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors*
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / etiology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / isolation & purification
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / isolation & purification
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • lemon oil