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J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 18;280(7):5221-6. Epub 2004 Dec 6.

Curcumin stimulates cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator Cl- channel activity.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Compounds that enhance either the function or biosynthetic processing of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channel may be of value in developing new treatments for cystic fibrosis (CF). Previous studies suggested that the herbal extract curcumin might affect the processing of a common CF mutant, CFTR-DeltaF508. Here, we tested the hypothesis that curcumin influences channel function. Curcumin increased CFTR channel activity in excised, inside-out membrane patches by reducing channel closed time and prolonging the time channels remained open. Stimulation was dose-dependent, reversible, and greater than that observed with genistein, another compound that stimulates CFTR. Curcumin-dependent stimulation required phosphorylated channels and the presence of ATP. We found that curcumin increased the activity of both wild-type and DeltaF508 channels. Adding curcumin also increased Cl(-) transport in differentiated non-CF airway epithelia but not in CF epithelia. These results suggest that curcumin may directly stimulate CFTR Cl(-) channels.

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