Anti-proliferative activity of Origanum vulgare inhibited lipogenesis and induced mitochondrial mediated apoptosis in human stomach cancer cell lines

Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Dec;108:1835-1844. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.10.028. Epub 2018 Oct 19.


Origanum vulgare commonly known as oregano belongs to mint family (Laminaceae), and native to temperate western and mediterranean region. In our present study, we have identified the bio-active principles of oregano essential oil (EO) and evaluated its apoptotic effects against human stomach cancer cell lines (AGS). The EO altered colony forming characteristics of cancer cell, migration ability of cancer cell and thus prevented cancer cell proliferation. Furthermore, to evaluate the molecular mechanism involved in cancer cell death, we studied the genes that are involved in fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthesis pathway including 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR), Acetyl CoA synthase (ACC), sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SPREPB1) and fatty acid synthase (FASN) respectively. The pathway genes such as HMGCR, ACC, SPREPB1 and FASN decreased in transcript profile and protein accumulation resulting in the inhibition of cell growth. The increase of BAX expression and downregulation of BCL2 expression indicated that oregano EO induced mitochondrial mediated apoptosis. In addition, the cancer cell undergone apoptosis was also confirmed by Hoechst, PI staining and DNA fragmentation. The present study finds rationale to use the oregano EO for stomach cancer treatments in traditional medicinal practice.

Keywords: Anti-proliferative activity; Apoptosis; Lipogenesis; Migration; Origanum vulgare; Stomach cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Shape / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Lipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Origanum / chemistry*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay


  • Fatty Acids
  • Oils, Volatile