Erucic acid, a component of Lorenzo's oil and PPAR-delta ligand modifies C6 glioma growth and toxicity of doxorubicin. Experimental data and a comprehensive literature analysis

Meric A. Altinoz*, Ayhan Bilir, Ilhan Elmaci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: PPAR-delta is a transcription factor which has crucial roles in stimulating oligodendroglial differentiation and myelination and its activation was also shown to differentiate malignant C6 glioma cells into oligodendrocytes. Objective: One of the ligands of PPAR-delta is erucic acid (EA), an edible omega-9 fatty acid consumed more by Asian populations and exists highly in Chinese womens milk. There exist epidemiological evidence that pediatric brain tumor incidence is among the lowest in the Chinese population. EA is also an ingredient of Lorenzo's oil used against adrenoleukodystrophy, a pediatric demyelinating disease. EA was inappropriately assumed as a strong cardiotoxin based on Spanish oil syndrome, caused by toxic-aniline dye refined rapeseed oil. In this study, we studied whether EA is capable to block growth of C6 glioma cells and modify cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin. Materials and methods: We studied effects of EA on the 3-dimensional appearance of the adherent cells, soft agar colony formation and S-phase in the 3-dimensional spheroids in C6 glioma cell cultures. We also investigated the effects of EA on hepatic and cardiac toxicity of doxorubicin. Results: EA decreased in vitro growth of C6 glioma cells at therapeutically achievable concentrations. EA effects were more prominent in 3D-assays (soft agar colonies and spheroids) and induced cell fusions in monolayer cultures. EA decreased S-phase inhibitory potency of doxorubicin (DOX), yet augmented its efficacy to induce a senescent morphology (as assessed by scanning electron microscopy) in monolayer and to increase iNOS and eNOS expression in spheroids. In our study, EA reduced DOX-induced necrosis in mice heart and liver and induced healthier morphology of heart mitochondria (as assessed by transmission electron microscopy); yet intercalated disks (ID) were more disturbed with DOX + EA. Conclusions: Both the antitumor and cardiac effects of EA may associate with the cell-to-cell contact mechanisms. Combining systemic EA with intrathecal DOX-chemotherapy via Ommaya reservoirs may reduce DOX concentrations in systemic circulation, hinder toxic interactions with EA and induce selective kill of glioma cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Erucic acid
  • Lorenzo's oil
  • PPAR-Delta
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Glioma

Cite this