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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013 Apr 1;304(7):C636-55. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00345.2012. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Curcumin abates hypoxia-induced oxidative stress based-ER stress-mediated cell death in mouse hippocampal cells (HT22) by controlling Prdx6 and NF-κB regulation.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA.

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  • Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2013 Apr 15;304(8):C808-9.


Oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress are emerging as crucial events in the etiopathology of many neurodegenerative diseases. While the neuroprotective contributions of the dietary compound curcumin has been recognized, the molecular mechanisms underlying curcumin's neuroprotection under oxidative and ER stresses remains elusive. Herein, we show that curcumin protects HT22 from oxidative and ER stresses evoked by the hypoxia (1% O(2) or CoCl(2) treatment) by enhancing peroxiredoxin 6 (Prdx6) expression. Cells exposed to CoCl(2) displayed reduced expression of Prdx6 with higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) expression and activation of NF-κB with IκB phosphorylation. When NF-κB activity was blocked by using SN50, an inhibitor of NF-κB, or cells treated with curcumin, the repression of Prdx6 expression was restored, suggesting the involvement of NF-κB in modulating Prdx6 expression. These cells were enriched with an accumulation of ER stress proteins, C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), GRP/78, and calreticulin, and had activated states of caspases 12, 9, and 3. Reinforced expression of Prdx6 in HT22 cells by curcumin reestablished survival signaling by reducing propagation of ROS and blunting ER stress signaling. Intriguingly, knockdown of Prdx6 by antisense revealed that loss of Prdx6 contributed to cell death by sustaining enhanced levels of ER stress-responsive proapoptotic proteins, which was due to elevated ROS production, suggesting that Prdx6 deficiency is a cause of initiation of ROS-mediated ER stress-induced apoptosis. We propose that using curcumin to reinforce the naturally occurring Prdx6 expression and attenuate ROS-based ER stress and NF-κB-mediated aberrant signaling improves cell survival and may provide an avenue to treat and/or postpone diseases associated with ROS or ER stress.

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