Camphene, a Plant-Derived Monoterpene, Reduces Plasma Cholesterol and Triglycerides in Hyperlipidemic Rats Independently of HMG-CoA Reductase Activity
Ioanna Vallianou1, Nikolaos Peroulis1, Panayotis Pantazis2, Margarita Hadzopoulou-Cladaras
Background: Central to the pathology of coronary heart disease is the accumulation of lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides, within the intima of arterial blood vessels. The search for drugs to treat dislipidemia, remains a major pharmaceutical focus. In this study, we evaluated the hypolipidemic properties of the essential oil from Chios mastic gum (MGO).
Methodology/Principal Findings: The hypolipidemic effect of MGO was investigated in naı¨ve as well as in rats susceptible to detergent-induced hyperlipidemia. Serum cholesterol and triglycerides were determined using commercial kits. HMGCoA (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A) reductase activity was measured in HepG2 cell extracts using a radioactive assay; cellular cholesterol and cholesterol esters were assessed using gas chromatography. MGO administration into naıve rats resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in the constitutive synthesis of serum cholesterol and triglycerides. In hyperlipidemic rats, MGO treatment had also a strong hypolipidemic effect. By testing various components of MGO, we show for the first time that the hypolipidemic action is associated with camphene. Administration of camphene at a dose of 30 mg/gr of body weight in hyperlipidemic rats resulted in a 54.5% reduction of total cholesterol (p,0.001), 54% of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol (p,0.001) and 34.5% of triglycerides (p,0.001). Treatment of HepG2 cells with camphene led to a decrease in cellular cholesterol content to the same extend as mevinolin, a known HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor. The hypolipidemic action of camphene is independent of HMG-CoA reductase activity, suggesting that its hypocholesterolemic and hypotriglyceridemic effects are associated with a mechanism of action different than that of statins.
Conclusions: Given the critical role that the control of hyperlipidemia plays in cardiovascular disease, the results of our study provide insights into the use of camphene as an alternative lipid lowering agent and merits further evaluation.