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Biochem Pharmacol. 2000 Dec 1;60(11):1665-76.

Comparative studies on the suppression of nitric oxide synthase by curcumin and its hydrogenated metabolites through down-regulation of IkappaB kinase and NFkappaB activation in macrophages.

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Institute of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in inflammation and in the multiple stages of carcinogenesis. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory effects of curcumin and its metabolites, tetrahydrocurcumin, hexahydrocurcumin, and octahydrocurcumin, on the induction of NO synthase (NOS) in RAW 264.7 cells activated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Western blotting and northern blotting analyses demonstrated that curcumin strongly reduced 130-kDa protein and 4.5-kb mRNA levels of iNOS in LPS-activated macrophages compared with its metabolites, tetrahydrocurcumin, hexahydrocurcumin, and octahydrocurcumin. Moreover, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) experiments indicated that curcumin blocked the LPS-induced binding of nuclear factor-kappaB (NFkappaB), a transcription factor necessary for iNOS induction to its (32)P-labeled double-stranded oligonucleotide probe. The inhibition of NFkappaB activation occurred through the prevention of inhibitor kappaB (IkappaB) degradation. Transient transfection experiments also showed that curcumin inhibited NFkappaB-dependent transcriptional activity. Curcumin blocked the disappearance of inhibitory kappaBalpha (IkappaBalpha) and p65 from the cytosolic fraction, and inhibited the phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha. Furthermore, we showed that curcumin could inhibit the IkappaB kinase 1 (IKK1) and IkappaB kinase 2 (IKK2) activities induced by LPS, but tetrahydrocurcumin, hexahydrocurcumin, and octahydrocurcumin were less active. These results suggest that curcumin may exert its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties by suppressing the activation of NFkappaB through inhibition of IKK activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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