Essential oil of Juniperus communis subsp. alpina (Suter) Čelak needles: chemical composition, antifungal activity and cytotoxicity.Phytother Res. 2012 Sep; 26(9):1352-7.PR
Essential oils are known to possess antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of bacteria and fungi. In the present work the composition and the antifungal activity of the oils of Juniperus communis subsp. alpina (Suter) Čelak were evaluated. Moreover, the skin cytotoxicity, at concentrations showing significant antifungal activity, was also evaluated. The oils were isolated by hydrodistillation and analysed by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal lethal concentration (MLC) were used to evaluate the antifungal activity of the oil against dermatophytes (Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum canis, M. gypseum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale, T. rubrum, T. verrucosum), yeasts (Candida albicans, C. guillermondii, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, Cryptococcus neoformans) and Aspergillus species (Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. niger). Cytotoxicity was tested in HaCaT keratinocytes through the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Essential oil of J. communis subsp. alpina needles was predominantly composed of monoterpene hydrocarbons (78.4%), with the main compounds being sabinene (26.2%), α-pinene (12-9%) and limonene (10.4%). Results concerning the antifungal activity demonstrated the potential of needle oil against dermatophytes, particularly for Microsporum canis and Trichophyton rubrum with MIC and MLC of 0.32 μL/mL. Furthermore, evaluation of cell viability showed no significant cytotoxicity in HaCaT keratinocytes at concentrations between 0.32 and 0.64 μL/mL. These results show that it is possible to find appropriate doses of J. communis subsp. alpina oil with both antifungal activity and a very low detrimental effect on keratinocytes.