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      Activation of Transcription Factor NF-κB Is Suppressed by Curcumin (Diferuloylmethane)

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          Function and activation of NF-kappa B in the immune system.

          NF-kappa B is a ubiquitous transcription factor. Nevertheless, its properties seem to be most extensively exploited in cells of the immune system. Among these properties are NF-kappa B's rapid posttranslational activation in response to many pathogenic signals, its direct participation in cytoplasmic/nuclear signaling, and its potency to activate transcription of a great variety of genes encoding immunologically relevant proteins. In vertebrates, five distinct DNA binding subunits are currently known which might extensively heterodimerize, thereby forming complexes with distinct transcriptional activity, DNA sequence specificity, and cell type- and cell stage-specific distribution. The activity of DNA binding NF-kappa B dimers is tightly controlled by accessory proteins called I kappa B subunits of which there are also five different species currently known in vertebrates. I kappa B proteins inhibit DNA binding and prevent nuclear uptake of NF-kappa B complexes. An exception is the Bcl-3 protein which in addition can function as a transcription activating subunit in th nucleus. Other I kappa B proteins are rather involved in terminating NF-kappa B's activity in the nucleus. The intracellular events that lead to the inactivation of I kappa B, i.e. the activation of NF-kappa B, are complex. They involve phosphorylation and proteolytic reactions and seem to be controlled by the cells' redox status. Interference with the activation or activity of NF-kappa B may be beneficial in suppressing toxic/septic shock, graft-vs-host reactions, acute inflammatory reactions, acute phase response, and radiation damage. The inhibition of NF-kappa B activation by antioxidants and specific protease inhibitors may provide a pharmacological basis for interfering with these acute processes.
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            Rapid detection of octamer binding proteins with 'mini-extracts', prepared from a small number of cells.

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              Pharmacology of Curcuma longa.

              The data reviewed indicate that extracts of Curcuma longa exhibit anti-inflammatory activity after parenteral application in standard animal models used for testing anti-inflammatory activity. It turned out that curcumin and the volatile oil are at least in part responsible for this action. It appears that when given orally, curcumin is far less active than after i.p. administration. This may be due to poor absorption, as discussed. Data on histamine-induced ulcers are controversial, and studies on the secretory activity (HCl, pepsinogen) are still lacking. In vitro, curcumin exhibited antispasmodic activity. Since there was a protective effect of extracts of Curcuma longa on the liver and a stimulation of bile secretion in animals, Curcuma longa has been advocated for use in liver disorders. Evidence for an effect on liver disease in humans is not yet available. From the facts that after oral application only traces of curcumin were found in the blood and that, on the other hand, most of the curcumin is excreted via the faeces it may be concluded that curcumin is absorbed poorly by the gastrointestinal tract and/or underlies presystemic transformation. Systemic effects therefore seem to be questionable after oral application except that they occur at very low concentrations of curcumin. This does not exclude a local action in the gastrointestinal tract.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Biological Chemistry
                J. Biol. Chem.
                American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
                0021-9258
                1083-351X
                October 20 1995
                October 20 1995
                : 270
                : 42
                : 24995-25000
                Article
                10.1074/jbc.270.42.24995
                © 1995

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