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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Jan 6;417(1):256-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.11.096. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Curcumin regulates airway epithelial cell cytokine responses to the pollutant cadmium.

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Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.


Cadmium is a toxic metal present in the environment and its inhalation can lead to pulmonary disease such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These lung diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation. Here we show that exposure of human airway epithelial cells to cadmium promotes a polarized apical secretion of IL-6 and IL-8, two pivotal pro-inflammatory cytokines known to play an important role in pulmonary inflammation. We also determined that two distinct pathways controlled secretion of these proinflammatory cytokines by human airway epithelial cells as cadmium-induced IL-6 secretion occurs via an NF-κB dependent pathway, whereas IL-8 secretion involves the Erk1/2 signaling pathway. Interestingly, the natural antioxidant curcumin could prevent both cadmium-induced IL-6 and IL-8 secretion by human airway epithelial cells. In conclusion, curcumin could be used to prevent airway inflammation due to cadmium inhalation.

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