Indexed on: 15 May '13Published on: 15 May '13Published in: Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire
Geraniol, present in the essential oils of many aromatic plants, has in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity against several cell lines. We investigated the effects of geraniol on lipid metabolic pathways involved in Hep-G2 cell proliferation and found that geraniol inhibits the mevalonate pathway, phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis, cell growth, and cell cycle progression (with an arrest occurring at the G0/G1 interphase) and increases apoptosis. The expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR), the rate-limiting step in cholesterol synthesis, was inhibited at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels, as assessed by real-time RT-PCR, Western blots, and [(14)C]HMG-CoA-conversion radioactivity assays. That geraniol decreased cholesterogenesis but increased the incorporation of [(14)C]acetate into other nonsaponifiable metabolites indicated the existence of a second control point between squalene and cholesterol involved in redirecting the flow of cholesterol-derived carbon toward other metabolites of the mevalonate pathway. That exogenous mevalonate failed to restore growth in geraniol-inhibited cells suggests that, in addition to the inhibition of HMGCR, other dose-dependent actions exist through which geraniol can impact the mevalonate pathway and consequently inhibit cell proliferation. These results suggest that geraniol, a nontoxic compound found in many fruits and herbs, exhibits notable potential as a natural agent for combatting cancer and (or) cardiovascular diseases.