The Clinical Translation of α-humulene – A Scoping Review


Planta Med. 2024 Apr 16. doi: 10.1055/a-2307-8183. Online ahead of print.


α-humulene, a sesquiterpene found in essential oils of various plant species, has garnered interest due to its potential therapeutic applications. This scoping review aims to consolidate α-humulene’s evidence base, informing clinical translation and guiding future research directions. A scoping review was conducted of EMBASE, MEDLINE and PubMed databases up to 14th July 2023. All studies describing original research on α-humulene extraction, pre-clinical and clinical research were included for review. Three-hundred and forty articles were analyzed. α-humulene yields ranged from negligible to 60.90% across plant species. In vitro experiments demonstrated cytotoxicity against adenocarcinomas (such as colorectal, pulmonary, breast, prostatic, lung, and ovarian), with varying responses in other cell models Mechanistic insights revealed its involvement in mitochondrial dysfunction, diminished intracellular glutathione levels, and the induction of oxidative stress. In rodent studies, oral administration of α-humulene at 50 mg/kg reduced inflammation markers in paw edema and ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation. Intraperitoneal administration of α-humulene (50-200 mg/kg) exhibited cannabimimetic properties through cannabinoid 1 and adenosine A2a receptors. α-humulene also exhibited a multitude of properties with potential scope for therapeutic utilization. However, there is a paucity of studies which have successfully translated this research into clinical populations with the associated disease. Potential barriers to clinical translation were identified, including yield variability, limited isolation studies, and challenges associated with terpene bioavailability. Consequently, rigorous pharmacokinetic studies and further mechanistic investigations are warranted to effectively uncover the potential of α-humulene.

PMID:38626911 | DOI:10.1055/a-2307-8183