Abstract Title:

Curcumin-induced apoptosis in PC3 prostate carcinoma cells is caspase-independent and involves cellular ceramide accumulation and damage to mitochondria.

Abstract Source:

Nutr Cancer. 2010 Apr;62(3):379-89. PMID: 20358476

Abstract Author(s):

Ashley L Hilchie, Suzanne J Furlong, Kimberly Sutton, Angela Richardson, Matthew R J Robichaud, Carman A Giacomantonio, Neale D Ridgway, David W Hoskin

Article Affiliation:

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Curcumin, the principal curcuminoid of tumeric, has potent anticancer activity. To determine the mechanism of curcumin-induced cytotoxicity in prostate cancer cells, we exposed PC3 prostate carcinoma cells to 25 to 100 microM curcumin for 24 to 72 h. Curcumin treatment of PC3 cells caused time- and dose-dependent induction of apoptosis and depletion of cellular reduced glutathione (GSH). Exogenous GSH and its precursor N-acetyl-cysteine, but not ascorbic acid (AA) or ebselen, decreased curcumin accumulation in PC3 cells and also prevented curcumin-induced DNA fragmentation. The failure of AA and ebselen to protect PC3 cells from curcumin-induced apoptosis argued against the involvement of reactive oxygen species; rather, GSH-mediated inhibition of curcumin-induced cytotoxicity was due to reduced curcumin accumulation in PC3 cells. Curcumin-treated PC3 cells showed apoptosis-inducing cellular ceramide accumulation and activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9 were activated, and cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) were released from mitochondria following curcumin treatment. Interestingly, curcumin-induced apoptosis was not prevented by p38 MAPK, JNK, or caspase inhibition. We conclude that curcumin-induced cytotoxicity was due to cellular ceramide accumulation and damage to mitochondria that resulted in apoptosis mediated by AIF and other caspase-independent processes.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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