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Citrus scent inhibits liver cancer

As main component of , terpenes can inhibit the growth of different . Researchers from the headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr Hanns Hatt have analysed this process in liver in detail. They shed light upon the molecular mechanisms that resulted in stop growing, following the application of (-)-citronellal, and they proved that the olfactory receptor OR1A2 is the crucial molecule for that purpose. In future, the olfactory receptor could serve as target for diagnosis and therapy. The researchers report their findings in the journal Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Essential oils protect not only from bacteria, viruses and fungi

Essential oils occur in many plants, protecting them through their antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal properties. It has been recently discovered that terpenes, the oils’ main components, can also inhibit the growth of different cancer cells, including liver cancer. Their function had not previously been fully understood.

Olfactory receptors not just in the nose

Terpenes can trigger signalling processes in cells by activating olfactory receptors. Those receptors are mainly located in the nose, but they have been proved to occur in all types of human tissue, including skin, prostate and spermatozoa. Carcinogenesis and cancer growth are likewise significantly affected by terpenes, even though it has not been understood which function exactly they fulfil.

The calcium influx into the liver carcinoma cell can be monitored following the exposure to citronellal
The calcium influx into the liver carcinoma cell can be monitored following the exposure to citronellal (pictured in pseudo-colours)

Source

Monoterpene (-)-citronellal affects hepatocarcinoma cell signaling via an olfactory receptor, D. Ma├čberg et al., Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, doi:10.1016/j.abb.2014.12.004, published online 13 December 2014.

Source: Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum