Original Article

Proapoptotic and Anticancer Potentials of Thymus capitatus Essential Oil on Colon Cancer Stem Cells


  • Dudu Özkum Yavuz
  • Eda Becer
  • Remziye Kendirci
  • Feyzan Özdal Kurt
  • H. Seda Vatansever

Received Date: 10.07.2020 Accepted Date: 18.09.2020 Cyprus J Med Sci 2021;6(4):319-324


The aim of this study was to investigate the proapoptotic activity of Thymus capitatus essential oil in either colon cancer stem (CD133þ Colo-320) or nonstem (CD133– Colo-320) cells.


T. capitatus essential oil was obtained by water distillation and analyzed by GC–MS. Cancer stem cells (CD133þ Colo-320) were obtained from the Colo-320 cells by the MiniMACS system. Proapoptotic activity of T. capitatus essential oil was investigated by immunocytochemistry using antibodies directed against caspase-3 and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay.


Caspase-3 immunoreactivity was significantly increased in 0.5% dilution T. capitatus essential oil-treated Colo-320 cells for 48 hours. Moreover, the number of TUNEL positive cells was significantly higher in Colo-320 cells when compared with CD133þ and CD133– Colo-320 cells.


We conclude that T. capitatus essential oil increases caspase-3 molecules, which play a crucial role in apoptosis. Interestingly, T. capitatus essential oil is found to be more effective in Colo-320 cells than CD133þ Colo-320 and CD133– Colo-320 cells in terms of apoptosis.

Keywords: Thymus capitatus, essential oil, apoptosis, colon cancer