Impact of the arylhydrocarbon receptor on eugenol- and isoeugenol-induced cell cycle arrest in human immortalized keratinocytes (HaCaT)

Michaela Kalmes, Andrea Neumeyer, Paola Rio, Helmut Hanenberg, Ellen Fritsche, Brunhilde Blömeke

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23 Scopus citations


Fragrances such as eugenol (4-allyl-2-methoxyphenol) and isoeugenol (2-methoxy-4-propenylphenol), naturally found in reasonable quantities in the essential oils of different spices, are not only common causes of contact dermatitis but also known for their antiproliferative actions. Previously, we found a cell cycle arrest and an arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-mediated activation of cytochromes in immortalized keratinocytes (HaCaT) induced by both compounds. In the present study we investigated whether the cell cycle arrest of eugenol and isoeugenol is mediated by the AhR in HaCaT cells. Analysis of the cell cycle status by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) revealed an arrest of cells (32-34%) in the G0/G1 phase induced by both compounds. This was found in synchronized HaCaT cells, natural HaCaT, and siRNA AhR transfected HaCaT. The induced G0/G1 arrests were reduced in the presence of the highly selective AhR antagonist 3′-methoxy-4′-nitroflavone (MNF). In summary, these results, together with our previous findings that both compounds induce translocation of the AhR into the nucleus, provide good evidence that the effects of eugenol and isoeugenol in skin and keratinocytes are mediated by the AhR. Furthermore, these data suggest that the known growth suppressive effects of these compounds in some skin cells may be mediated by AhR interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1207
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006



  • AhR agonist
  • AhR-siRNA
  • G/G arrest
  • MNF
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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