Nerolidol effects on mitochondrial and cellular energetics

Ferreira FM, Palmeira CM, Oliveira MM, Santos D, Simões AM, Rocha SM, Coimbra MA, Peixoto F
Toxicology in Vitro, 2012


In the present work, we evaluated the potential toxic effects of nerolidol, a sesquiterpenoid common in plants essential oils, both on mitochondrial and cellular energetics. Samples of enriched natural extracts of nerolidol (a racemic mixture of cis and trans isomers) were tested on rat liver mitochondria and a decrease in phosphorylative system was observed but not in the mitochondrial respiratory chain activity, which reflects a direct effect on F1-ATPase. Hence, respiratory control ratio was also decreased. Cellular ATP/ADP levels were significantly decreased in a concentration-dependent manner, possibly due to the direct effect of nerolidol on F(0)F(1)-ATPsynthase. Nerolidol stimulates respiratory activity probably due to an unspecific effect, since it does not show any protonophoric effect. Furthermore, we observed that mitochondrial permeability transition was delayed in the presence of nerolidol, possibly due to its antioxidant activity and because this compound decreases mitochondrial transmembrane electric potential. Our results also show that, in human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line (HepG2), nerolidol both induces cell death and arrests cell growth, probably related with the observed lower bioenergetic efficiency.


Ferreira FM, Palmeira CM, Oliveira MM. Nerolidol effects on mitochondrial and cellular energetics. Toxicol In Vitro. 2012;26(2):189-196.

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