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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2014 Nov;66(11):1615-22. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12283. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Curcumin affects β-catenin pathway in hepatic stellate cell in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu, China.



Emerging evidence indicates that Wnt/β-catenin pathway is linked to the fibrosis of different organs including liver fibrosis. β-Catenin promotes hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) activation, a key event in the development of liver fibrosis, and has emerged as a novel mediator of fibrosis. Curcumin, a natural active ingredient derived from turmeric, possesses an inhibitory effect on liver fibrosis. This study is aimed to examine whether curcumin affects β-catenin expression/activity in HSCs and explores the underlying mechanisms.


The researchers used Western blot, real-time PCR, transfection assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay and employed cultured HSCs and rat model of liver injury.


Results showed that curcumin could reduce β-catenin protein level in HSCs in vitro and in vivo. Both β-catenin transactivation activity and DNA-binding activity were suppressed by curcumin. Moreover, nuclear β-catenin protein level was decreased by curcumin treatment. Further experiments suggested that delta-like homologue 1 contributed to curcumin inhibition of β-catenin transactivation activity in cultured HSCs.


Curcumin affects β-catenin pathway in HSCs and might suggest a possible new explanation for the effects of curcumin on HSC activation and liver fibrosis.

© 2014 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.


curcumin; delta-like homologue 1; hepatic stellate cell; liver fibrosis; β-catenin

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