Abstract Title:

Curcumin dramatically enhances retinoic acid-induced superoxide generating activity via accumulation of p47-phox and p67-phox proteins in U937 cells.

Abstract Source:

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Apr 23;395(1):61-5. Epub 2010 Mar 25. PMID: 20346917

Abstract Author(s):

Hidehiko Kikuchi, Futoshi Kuribayashi, Naomi Kiwaki, Tatsuo Nakayama

Article Affiliation:

Department of Life Science, Frontier Science Research Center, University of Miyazaki, Kiyotake, Miyazaki 889-1692, Japan.


The membrane bound cytochrome b558 composed of large gp91-phox and small p22-phox subunits, and cytosolic proteins p40-, p47- and p67-phox are important components of superoxide (O(2)(-))-generating system in phagocytes and B lymphocytes. A lack of this system in phagocytes is known to cause serious life-threatening infections. Here, we describe that curcumin, a polyphenol responsible for the yellow color of curry spice turmeric, dramatically activates the O(2)(-)-generating system during retinoic acid (RA)-induced differentiation of human monoblastic leukemia U937 cells to macrophage-like cells. When U937 cells were cultured in the presence of RA and curcumin, the O(2)(-)-generating activity increased more than 4-fold compared with that in the absence of the latter. Semiquantitative RT-PCR showed that co-treatment with RA and curcumin slightly enhanced gene expressions of the five components compared with those of the RA-treatment only. On the other hand, immunoblot analysis revealed that co-treatment with RA and curcumin caused remarkable accumulation of protein levels of p47-phox (to 7-fold) and p67-phox (to 4-fold) compared with those of the RA-treatment alone. These results suggested that curcumin dramatically enhances RA-induced O(2)(-)-generating activity via accumulation of cytosolic p47-phox and p67-phox proteins in U937 cells. Therefore, it should have the potential as an effective modifier in therapy of leukemia and/or as an immunopotentiator.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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