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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Mar 24;341(4):1007-16. Epub 2006 Jan 25.

Role of protein kinase C delta in curcumin-induced antioxidant response element-mediated gene expression in human monocytes.

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  • 1MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK.


The Nrf2/antioxidant response element (ARE) signaling pathway plays a key role in activating cellular antioxidants, including heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), NADPH quinone oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1), and glutathione. Protein kinase C (PKC) may also regulate these antioxidants, as PKC phosphorylates Nrf2 in vitro. This study examined the role of PKC in ARE-mediated gene regulation in human monocytes by curcumin, a potent inducer of the Nrf2/ARE pathway. Curcumin increased HO-1 and glutamyl cysteine ligase modulator (GCLM) expression and stimulated Nrf2 binding to the ARE. Curcumin also rapidly stimulated PKC phosphorylation and Ro-31-8220, a pan-PKC inhibitor, decreased curcumin-induced GCLM and HO-1 mRNA expression and ARE binding. Rottlerin (a PKC delta inhibitor) and PKC delta antisense oligonucleotides significantly inhibited curcumin-induced GCLM and HO-1 mRNA expression and ARE binding. Furthermore, a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor reduced GCLM and HO-1 expression and rottlerin inhibited curcumin-induced p38 phosphorylation. In summary, curcumin activates ARE-mediated gene expression in human monocytes via PKC delta, upstream of p38 and Nrf2.

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