Essential oils diversely modulate genome-wide gene expression in human dermal fibroblasts

Han X, Parker TL
Cogent Medicine, 2017


The increasing popularity of essential oils for skincare has led to investigation of their biological effects in human skin cells. In this study, we investigated the biological activities of three commercially available essential oils, i.e. rosemary oil, wild orange oil, and a blend (commercial name: Deep Blue) composed of oils from wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, German chamomile, Helichrysum, and Osmanthus, in a pre-inflamed human dermal fibroblast culture model, simulating chronic inflammation. The impact of essential oils on proteins associated with inflammation and tissue remodeling and on the genome-wide expression of 21,224 genes was investigated. The three essential oils diversely modulated global gene expression. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis showed that the oils affected numerous critical genes and signaling pathways. Specifically, rosemary oil influenced processes involved in cancer signaling and metabolism; orange oil affected processes related to cancer signaling, immunomodulation, and metabolism; the blend influenced inflammation, immunomodulation, and wound healing. These findings are largely consistent with the existing literature, supporting the beneficial biological activities of these essential oils. Our study provides the first evidence indicating how these essential oils affect genome-wide gene expression in human skin cells and establishes a basis for further research into their biological mechanisms of action.


Han X, Parker TL. Essential oils diversely modulate genome-wide gene expression in human dermal fibroblasts. Cogent Medicine (2017)4(1).

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