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Curcumin Differs from Tetrahydrocurcumin for Molecular Targets, Signaling Pathways and Cellular Responses

Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77054, TX, USA
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Present address: Medicinal Plants and Horticultural Resources Division, Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Takyelpat Institutional Area, Imphal 795001, Manipur, India
Academic Editor: Derek J. McPhee
Molecules 2015, 20(1), 185-205; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules20010185
Received: 24 October 2014 / Accepted: 16 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Curcumin, Inflammation, and Chronic Diseases: How are They Linked?)
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a golden pigment from turmeric, has been linked with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and antidiabetic properties. Most of the these activities have been assigned to methoxy, hydroxyl, α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety or to diketone groups present in curcumin. One of the major metabolites of curcumin is tetrahydrocurcumin (THC), which lacks α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety and is white in color. Whether THC is superior to curcumin on a molecular level is unclear and thus is the focus of this review. Various studies suggest that curcumin is a more potent antioxidant than THC; curcumin (but not THC) can bind and inhibit numerous targets including DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase-1, heme oxygenase-1, Nrf2, β-catenin, cyclooxygenase-2, NF-kappaB, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nitric oxide, amyloid plaques, reactive oxygen species, vascular endothelial growth factor, cyclin D1, glutathione, P300/CBP, 5-lipoxygenase, cytosolic phospholipase A2, prostaglandin E2, inhibitor of NF-kappaB kinase-1, -2, P38MAPK, p-Tau, tumor necrosis factor-α, forkhead box O3a, CRAC; curcumin can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress cellular entry of viruses such as influenza A virus and hepatitis C virus much more effectively than THC; curcumin affects membrane mobility; and curcumin is also more effective than THC in suppressing phorbol-ester-induced tumor promotion. Other studies, however, suggest that THC is superior to curcumin for induction of GSH peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase, NADPH: quinone reductase, and quenching of free radicals. Most studies have indicated that THC exhibits higher antioxidant activity, but curcumin exhibits both pro-oxidant and antioxidant properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: curcumin; tetreahydrocurcumin; antioxidant; anti-inflammatory curcumin; tetreahydrocurcumin; antioxidant; anti-inflammatory
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Aggarwal, B.B.; Deb, L.; Prasad, S. Curcumin Differs from Tetrahydrocurcumin for Molecular Targets, Signaling Pathways and Cellular Responses. Molecules 2015, 20, 185-205.

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