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Int J Pharm. 2008 Jun 24;358(1-2):224-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2008.03.010. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Curcuma drugs and curcumin regulate the expression and function of P-gp in Caco-2 cells in completely opposite ways.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, Osaka University, 1-6 Yamadaoka, Suita City, Osaka, Japan.


Curcumin is a phenolic compound isolated from rhizomes of C. longa, C. aromatica and other Curcumas except C. zedoaria. Recently, both curcumin and Curcumas have become prevalent as supplement. P-gp has been reported as an important determinant for drug absorption in small intestine. In this study, Caco-2 cell monolayers were treated with methanol extracts of Curcumas (0.1 mg/ml) or curcumin (30 microM) for 72h to investigate the relationship between the potential affects of Curcumas and curcumin on P-gp. [(3)H]-digoxin and rhodamine 123 were used to evaluate P-gp activity. All Curcumas significantly increased the activity of P-gp by up-regulating the expressions of P-gp protein and MDR1 mRNA levels. Interestingly, contrary to Curcumas, curcumin treatment inhibited the activity of P-gp with a decrease in P-gp protein and MDR1 mRNA expression levels. Curcumas might alter the pharmacokinetics of co-administrated drugs by up-regulating the function and expression levels of intestinal P-gp. However, curcumin has no relationship with the inductive effect of Curcumas since curcumin showed an opposite effects. Caution should be exercised when Curcumas or curcumin are to be consumed with drugs that are P-gp substrates because Curcumas and curcumin might regulate the function of P-gp in completely opposite ways.

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