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J Neurochem. 2004 Dec;91(5):1199-210.

Curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric, inhibits amyloid peptide-induced cytochemokine gene expression and CCR5-mediated chemotaxis of THP-1 monocytes by modulating early growth response-1 transcription factor.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


Epidemiological studies show reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) among patients using non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAID) indicating the role of inflammation in AD. Studies have shown a chronic CNS inflammatory response associated with increased accumulation of amyloid peptide and activated microglia in AD. Our previous studies showed that interaction of Abeta1-40 or fibrilar Abeta1-42 caused activation of nuclear transcription factor, early growth response-1 (Egr-1), which resulted in increased expression of cytokines (TNF-alpha and IL-1beta) and chemokines (MIP-1beta, MCP-1 and IL-8) in monocytes. We determined whether curcumin, a natural product known to have anti-inflammatory properties, suppressed Egr-1 activation and concomitant expression of cytochemokines. We show that curcumin (12.5-25 microm) suppresses the activation of Egr-1 DNA-binding activity in THP-1 monocytic cells. Curcumin abrogated Abeta1-40-induced expression of cytokines (TNF-alpha and IL-1beta) and chemokines (MIP-1beta, MCP-1 and IL-8) in both peripheral blood monocytes and THP-1 cells. We found that curcumin inhibited Abeta1-40-induced MAP kinase activation and the phosphorylation of ERK-1/2 and its downstream target Elk-1. We observed that curcumin inhibited Abeta1-40-induced expression of CCR5 but not of CCR2b in THP-1 cells. This involved abrogation of Egr-1 DNA binding in the promoter of CCR5 by curcumin as determined by: (i) electrophoretic mobility shift assay, (ii) transfection studies with truncated CCR5 gene promoter constructs, and (iii) chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. Finally, curcumin inhibited chemotaxis of THP-1 monocytes in response to chemoattractant. The inhibition of Egr-1 by curcumin may represent a potential therapeutic approach to ameliorate the inflammation and progression of AD.

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