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Clin Immunol. 1999 Nov;93(2):152-61.

Curcumin causes the growth arrest and apoptosis of B cell lymphoma by downregulation of egr-1, c-myc, bcl-XL, NF-kappa B, and p53.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Department of General Surgery, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, USA.


It has been well known that curcumin is a powerful inhibitor of proliferation of several tumor cells. However, the molecular basis of the anti-proliferative effect of curcumin has not been investigated in detail. In this paper, we present evidence to show that curcumin inhibited proliferation of a variety of B lymphoma cells. At low concentrations curcumin inhibited the proliferation of BKS-2, an immature B cell lymphoma, more effectively than that of normal B lymphocytes and caused the apoptosis of BKS-2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Furthermore, curcumin downregulated the expression of survival genes egr-1, c-myc, and bcl-X(L) as well as the tumor suppressor gene p53 in B cells. In addition, NF-kappaB binding activity was also downregulated almost completely by curcumin. Stimulation with CpG oligonucleotides or anti-CD40 overcame growth inhibition induced by low concentrations of curcumin. Our results suggest that curcumin caused the growth arrest and apoptosis of BKS-2 immature B cell lymphoma by downregulation of growth and survival promoting genes.

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