p-Cymene Modulate Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Murine Macrophages: Potential Implication in Atherosclerosis

Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem. 2020;18(2):151-157. doi: 10.2174/1871525717666191118112310.


Background: p-Cymene (p-CYM) is a common chemical used in air fresheners.

Objective: The study was designed to investigate the molecular effect of p-CYM on macrophages.

Materials and methods: Macrophages (RAW 264.7) were treated with p-CYM (50 uM/L, 150 uM/L and 250 uM/L) for 6 hours, and 24 hours). Gene involved in inflammation, such as the Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α), and the Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 (MCP-1) and other genes known for their antioxidant activity such as the Paraoxonase 1 (PON-1) were analyzed.

Results: Cells treated with p-CYM have shown 30% up-regulation of MCP-1 after 24 hour of exposure; and also a differential up-regulation of TNF-α. However, treatment with p-CYM has resulted in a considerable (37%) dose-dependent downregulation of PON-1 after 24 hours of exposure. PON-1 is known for its antioxidant properties protecting High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) from oxidation.

Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate that exposure to p-CYM over time promotes oxidative stress by downregulating antioxidants genes as shown in PON-1 and also stimulates inflammation, a key process during the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL); inflammation; macrophages; oxidative stress; p-Cymene.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / chemically induced
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Cymenes / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Inflammation / chemically induced*
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • RAW 264.7 Cells


  • Cymenes
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • 4-cymene