Curcumin is not to be confused with cumin which is a completely different spice with a similar name.
Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the Indian curry spice turmeric, the other two curcuminoids being demethoxycurcumin and Bis-demethoxycurcumin. The curcuminoids are polyphenols and are responsible for the yellow color of turmeric. Curcumin can exist in at least two tautomeric forms, keto and enol. The enol form is more energetically stable in the solid phase and in solution. It is also hepatoprotective.
Curcumin can be used for boron quantification in the so-called curcumin method. It reacts with boric acid forming a red colored compound, known as rosocyanine.
Since curcumin is brightly colored, it may be used as a food coloring. As a food additive, its E number is E100.
Curcumin: potential for hepatic fibrosis therapy?
O'Connell MA, Rushworth SA.
School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. m.***@****
The beneficial antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and antitumorigenic effects of curcumin have been well documented in relation to cancer and other chronic diseases. Recent evidence suggests that it may be of therapeutic interest in chronic liver disease. Hepatic fibrosis (scarring) occurs in advanced liver disease, where normal hepatic tissue is replaced with collagen-rich extracellular matrix and, if left untreated, results in cirrhosis. Curcumin inhibits liver cirrhosis in a rodent model and exerts multiple biological effects in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which play a central role in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. In response to liver injury, these cells proliferate producing pro-inflammatory mediators and extracellular matrix. Curcumin induces apoptosis and suppresses proliferation in HSCs. In addition, it inhibits extracellular matrix formation by enhancing HSC matrix metalloproteinase expression via PPARgamma and suppressing connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression. In this issue, Chen and co-workers propose that curcumin suppresses CTGF expression in HSC by inhibiting ERK and NF-kappaB activation. These studies suggest that curcumin modulates several intracellular signalling pathways in HSC and may be of future interest in hepatic fibrosis therapy.
PMID: 18037917 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Curcumin protects the rat liver from CCl4-caused injury and fibrogenesis by attenuating oxidative stress and suppressing inflammation.
Fu Y, Zheng S, Lin J, Ryerse J, Chen A.
Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.
We previously demonstrated that curcumin, a polyphenolic antioxidant purified from turmeric, up-regulated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma gene expression and stimulated its signaling, leading to the inhibition of activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC) in vitro. The current study evaluates the in vivo role of curcumin in protecting the liver against injury and fibrogenesis caused by carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) in rats and further explores the underlying mechanisms. We hypothesize that curcumin might protect the liver from CCl(4)-caused injury and fibrogenesis by attenuating oxidative stress, suppressing inflammation, and inhibiting activation of HSC. This report demonstrates that curcumin significantly protects the liver from injury by reducing the activities of serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase, and by improving the histological architecture of the liver. In addition, curcumin attenuates oxidative stress by increasing the content of hepatic glutathione, leading to the reduction in the level of lipid hydroperoxide. Curcumin dramatically suppresses inflammation by reducing levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interferon-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interleukin-6. Furthermore, curcumin inhibits HSC activation by elevating the level of PPARgamma and reducing the abundance of platelet-derived growth factor, transforming growth factor-beta, their receptors, and type I collagen. This study demonstrates that curcumin protects the rat liver from CCl(4)-caused injury and fibrogenesis by suppressing hepatic inflammation, attenuating hepatic oxidative stress and inhibiting HSC activation. These results confirm and extend our prior in vitro observations and provide novel insights into the mechanisms of curcumin in the protection of the liver. Our results suggest that curcumin might be a therapeutic antifibrotic agent for the treatment of hepatic fibrosis.
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