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Antitumor Effect of Glandora rosmarinifolia (Boraginaceae) Essential Oil through Inhibition of the Activity of the Topo II Enzyme in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

  • Autori: Manuela Labbozzetta; Paola Poma; Chiara Occhipinti; Maurizio Sajeva; Monica Notarbartolo
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


It was previously shown that the antitumor and cytotoxic activity of the essential oil (EO) extracted from the aerial parts of Glandora rosmarinifolia appears to involve a pro-oxidant mechanism in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines. Its most abundant compound is a hydroxy-methyl-naphthoquinone isomer. Important pharmacological activities, such as antitumor, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic activities, are at- tributed to naphthoquinones, probably due to their pro-oxidant or electrophilic potential; for some naphthoquinones, a mechanism of action of topoisomerase inhibition has been reported, in which they appear to act both as catalytic inhibitors and as topoisomerase II poisons. Our aim was to evaluate the cytotoxic activity of the essential oil on an acute myeloid leukemia cell line HL-60 and on its multidrug-resistant (MDR) variant HL-60R and verify its ability to interfere with topoisomerase II activity. MTS assay showed that G. rosmarinifolia EO induced a decrease in tumor cell viability equivalent in the two cell lines; this antitumor effect could depend on the pro-oxidant activity of EO in both cell lines. Furthermore, G. rosmarinifolia EO reduced the activity of Topo II in the nuclear extracts of HL-60 and HL-60R cells, as inferred from the inability to convert the kinetoplast DNA into the decatenated form and then not inducing linear kDNA. Confirming this result, flow cytometric analysis proved that EO induced a G0-G1 phase arrest, with cell reduction in the S-phase. In addition, the combination of EO with etoposide showed a good potentiation effect in terms of cyto- toxicity in both cell lines. Our results highlight the antitumor activity of EO in the HL-60 cell line and its MDR variant with a peculiar mechanism as a Topo II modulator. Unlike etoposide, EO does not cause stabilization of a covalent Topo II-DNA intermediate but acts as a catalytic inhibitor. These data make G. rosmarinifolia EO a potential anticancer drug candidate due to its cytotoxic action, which is not affected by multidrug resistance.