Curcumin induces apoptotic cell death of activated human CD4+ T cells via increasing endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial dysfunction

Min Zheng, Qinggao Zhang, Yeonsoo Joe, Bong Hee Lee, Do Gon Ryu, Kang Beom Kwon, Stefan W Ryter, Hun Taeg Chung
International Immunopharmacology 2013, 15 (3): 517-23
Curcumin, a natural polyphenolic antioxidant compound, exerts well-known anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, the latter which can influence the activation of immune cells including T cells. Furthermore, curcumin can inhibit the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, through suppression of the NF-κB signaling pathway. The beneficial effects of curcumin in diseases such as arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes and cancer may be due to its immunomodulatory properties. We studied the potential of curcumin to modulate CD4+ T cells-mediated autoimmune disease, by examining the effects of this compound on human CD4+ lymphocyte activation. Stimulation of human T cells with PHA or CD3/CD28 induced IL-2 mRNA expression and activated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. The treatment of T cells with curcumin induced the unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling pathway, initiated by the phosphorylation of PERK and IRE1. Furthermore, curcumin increased the expression of the ER stress associated transcriptional factors XBP-1, cleaved p50ATF6α and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) in human CD4+ and Jurkat T cells. In PHA-activated T cells, curcumin further enhanced PHA-induced CHOP expression and reduced the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. Finally, curcumin treatment induced apoptotic cell death in activated T cells via eliciting an excessive ER stress response, which was reversed by the ER-stress inhibitor 4-phenylbutyric acid or transfection with CHOP-specific siRNA. These results suggest that curcumin can impact both ER stress and mitochondria functional pathways, and thereby could be used as a promising therapy in the context of Th1-mediated autoimmune diseases.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"