Standardized rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) extract induces Nrf2/sestrin-2 pathway in colon cancer cells

Miao Yan, Gongbo Li, Sakina M. Petiwala, Emily Householter, Jeremy J. Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Rosemary and its polyphenolic diterpene, carnosic acid, are known to possess antioxidant activity and are used as a natural antioxidant food preservative. The intake of vegetables and certain plant components has been reported to play a major role in promoting gastrointestinal health. In the current study, the anticancer activity of rosemary extract and carnosic acid was evaluated to understand the potential implications on gastrointestinal health. We also evaluated the anti-cancer activity of rosemary extract in a nude mouse model. Rosemary extract and carnosic acid, increased apoptosis, and decreased viability in colon cancer cell lines. Rosemary extract and carnosic acid significantly upregulated the expression of Nrf2 in colon cells and inhibited a HCT116 xenograft tumor formation in mice. These results are especially significant as rosemary extract is increasingly being incorporated into food products across the United States and Europe as a food preservative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Carnosic acid
  • Colon cancer
  • Nrf2
  • Rosemary
  • Sestrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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