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Extrinsic or Intrinsic Apoptosis by Curcumin and Light: Still a Mystery

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60590 Frankfurt, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 905;
Received: 24 January 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 19 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Curcumin in Health and Disease)
Curcumin—a rhizomal phytochemical from the plant Curcuma longa—is well known to inhibit cell proliferation and to induce apoptosis in a broad range of cell lines. In previous studies we showed that combining low curcumin concentrations and subsequent ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) or VIS irradiation induced anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects. There is still debate whether curcumin induces apoptosis via the extrinsic or the intrinsic pathway. To address this question, we investigated in three epithelial cell lines (HaCaT, A431, A549) whether the death receptors CD95, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-receptor I and II are involved in apoptosis induced by light and curcumin. Cells were incubated with 0.25–0.5 µg/mL curcumin followed by irradiation with 1 J/cm2 UVA. This treatment was combined with inhibitors specific for distinct membrane-bound death receptors. After 24 h apoptosis induction was monitored by quantitative determination of cytoplasmic histone-associated-DNA-fragments. Validation of our test system showed that apoptosis induced by CH11 and TNF-α could be completely inhibited by their respective antagonists. Interestingly, apoptosis induced by curcumin/light treatment was reversed by none of the herein examined death receptor antagonists. These results indicate a mechanism of action independent from classical death receptors speaking for intrinsic activation of apoptosis. It could be speculated that a shift in cellular redox balance might prompt the pro-apoptotic processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: curcumin; death receptor; apoptosis curcumin; death receptor; apoptosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Laubach, V.; Kaufmann, R.; Bernd, A.; Kippenberger, S.; Zöller, N. Extrinsic or Intrinsic Apoptosis by Curcumin and Light: Still a Mystery. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 905.

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