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Curcumin Suppresses T Cell Activation by Blocking Ca2+ Mobilization and Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells (NFAT) Activation

Christian Kliem, Anette Merling,§ Marco Giaisi,§ Rebecca Köhler,§ Peter H. Krammer,§ and Min Li-Weber§,1

J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 23; 287(13): 10200–10209.
Published online 2012 Feb 2. doi:  10.1074/jbc.M111.318733

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Curcumin is known to exert numerous biological effects including anti-inflammatory activity. In this study, we investigated the effects of curcumin on the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6) by murine macrophage-like RAW 264.7 cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Prevotella intermedia, a major cause of inflammatory periodontal disease, and sought to determine the underlying mechanisms of action.


LPS was prepared from lyophilized P. intermedia ATCC 25611 cells by the standard hot phenol-water method. Culture supernatants were collected and assayed for IL-6. We used real-time polymerase chain reaction to detect IL-6 mRNA expression. IκB-α degradation, nuclear translocation of NF-κB subunits, and STAT1 phosphorylation were characterized via immunoblotting. DNA-binding of NF-κB was also analyzed.


Curcumin strongly suppressed the production of IL-6 at both gene transcription and translation levels in P. intermedia LPS-activated RAW 264.7 cells. Curcumin did not inhibit the degradation of IκB-α induced byP. intermedia LPS. Curcumin blocked NF-κB signaling through the inhibition of nuclear translocation of NF-κB p50 subunit. Curcumin also attenuated DNA binding activity of p50 and p65 subunits and suppressed STAT1 phosphorylation.


Although further study is required to explore the detailed mechanism of action, curcumin may contribute to blockade of the host-destructive processes mediated by IL-6 and appears to have potential therapeutic values in the treatment of inflammatory periodontal disease.

Keywords: Curcumin, Periodontal disease, Prevotella intermedia, Lipopolysaccharides, Interleukin-6

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