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Beneficial Effects of Carvacrol on In Vitro Models of Metabolically-Associated Liver Steatosis and Endothelial Dysfunction: A Role for Fatty Acids in Interfering with Carvacrol Binding to Serum Albumin

[ Vol. 29 , Issue. 30 ]


Mohamad Khalil, Nadia Serale, Farah Diab, Francesca Baldini, Piero Portincasa, Giulio Lupidi and Laura Vergani*   Pages 5113 - 5129 ( 17 )


Background: Carvacrol, a plant phenolic monoterpene, is largely employed as food additive and phytochemical.

Objective: We aimed to assess the lipid lowering and protective effects of carvacrol in vitro using cellular models of hepatic steatosis and endothelial dysfunction. We also investigated if and how the binding of carvacrol to albumin, the physiological transporter for small compounds in the blood, might be altered by the presence of high levels of fatty acids (FAs).

Methods: Hepatic FaO cells treated with exogenous FAs mimic hepatosteatosis; endothelial HECV cells exposed to hydrogen peroxide are a model of endothelial dysfunction. In these models, we measured spectrophotometrically lipid accumulation and release, lipoperoxidation, free radical production, and nitric oxide release before and after treatment with carvacrol. The carvacrol binding to albumin in the presence or absence of high levels of FAs was assessed by absorption and emission spectroscopies.

Results: Carvacrol counteracted lipid accumulation and oxidative stress in hepatocytes and protected endothelial cells from oxidative stress and dysfunction. Moreover, high levels of FAs reduced the binding of carvacrol to albumin.

Conclusion: The results suggest the good potential of carvacrol in ameliorating dysfunction of hepatic and endothelial cells in vitro. High levels of circulating FAs might compete with carvacrol for binding to albumin thus influencing its transport and bio-distribution.


Carvacrol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), endothelial dysfunction, long-chain fatty acids, serum albumin, HECV.


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