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Myristicin: a potential cancer chemopreventive agent from parsley leaf oil

Zheng, G.G., Kenney, P.M., Lam, L.K.T.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 1992 v.40 no.1 pp. 107-110
Petroselinum, parsley, leaves, essential oils, bioassays, antineoplastic agents, glutathione transferase, enzyme activity, carcinogenesis, chemical structure, Petroselinum crispum
Parsley (Petroselinum sativum Hoffm.) is used extensively as a culinary herb for garnishing and seasoning. Bioassay-directed fractionation of parsley leaf oil has resulted in the isolation of an active compound named myristicin. Myristicin and other fractions were tested for their ability to induce increased activity of the detoxifying enzyme system glutathione S-transferase in several mouse target tissues. Myristicin showed high activity as a GST inducer in the liver and small intestinal mucosa. To establish preliminary structure-activity relationship, the olefinic bond of myristicin was reduced by catalytic hydrogenation to yield dihydromyristicin. The latter compound retained high activity in the liver and small intestinal mucosa. Thus, the isolated double bond is not required for the enzyme-inducing activity. Since the ability to induce an increase in the detoxifying enzyme activity by anticarcinogenic natural products has been found to correlate with their activity in the inhibition of tumorigenesis, myristicin may be considered a potential chemopreventive agent.