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Bioorg Med Chem. 2012 Oct 15;20(20):6040-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2012.08.029. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Curcumin is an inhibitor of calcium/calmodulin dependent protein kinase II.

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Molecular Neurobiology Division, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.


Calcium/calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is involved in the mechanisms underlying higher order brain functions such as learning and memory. CaMKII participates in pathological glutamate signaling also, since it is activated by calcium influx through the N-methyl-d-aspartate type glutamate receptor (NMDAR). In our attempt to identify phytomodulators of CaMKII, we observed that curcumin, a constituent of turmeric and its analogs inhibit the Ca(2+)-dependent and independent kinase activities of CaMKII. We further report that a heterocyclic analog of curcumin I, (3,5-bis[β-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)ethenyl]pyrazole), named as pyrazole-curcumin, is a more potent inhibitor of CaMKII than curcumin. Microwave assisted, rapid synthesis of curcumin I and its heterocyclic analogues is also reported.

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