Dietary zerumbone from shampoo ginger: new insights into its antioxidant and anticancer activity
The dietary sesquiterpene dienone zerumbone (ZER) selectively targets cancer cells, inducing mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis, and protects non-cancerous cells towards oxidative stress and insult. This study examines the in vitro effects of ZER on lipid peroxidation in biological systems (cholesterol and phospholipid membrane oxidation) and explores its antitumor action in terms of its ability to modulate cancer cell lipid profile. Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of ZER showed that this compound is unable to trap lipoperoxyl radicals per se. ZER significantly modulated the total lipid and fatty acid profiles in cancer cells, inducing marked changes in the phospholipid/cholesterol ratio, with significant decreases in the levels of oleic and palmitic acids and a marked increase of stearic acid. Cell-based fluorescent measurements of intracellular membranes and lipid droplets using the Nile Red staining technique showed that in cancer cells, ZER induced significant accumulation of cytosolic lipid droplets and altered cell membrane organization/protein dynamics, depolarizing the mitochondrial membranes and inducing apoptosis and alteration of nuclear morphology. The modulatory activity of ZER on the total lipid and fatty acid profiles and lipid droplets may therefore represent another possible mechanism of its anticancer properties.