Curcumin inhibits TGF-β1-induced connective tissue growth factor expression through the interruption of Smad2 signaling in human gingival fibroblasts

Jung-Tsu Chen, Chen-Ying Wang, Min-Huey Chen
Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 2018 January 13

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Many fibrotic processes are associated with an increased level of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). TGF-β1 can increase synthesis of matrix proteins and enhance secretion of protease inhibitors, resulting in matrix accumulation. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a downstream profibrotic effector of TGF-β1 and is associated with the fibrosis in several human organs. Curcumin has been applied to reduce matrix accumulation in fibrotic diseases. This study was aimed to evaluate whether curcumin could suppress TGF-β1-induced CTGF expression and its related signaling pathway involving in this inhibitory action in primary human gingival fibroblasts.

METHODS: The differences in CTGF expression among three types of gingival overgrowth and normal gingival tissues were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Gingival fibroblast viability in cultured media with different concentrations of curcumin was studied by MTT assay. The effect of curcumin on TGF-β1-induced CTGF expression in primary human gingival fibroblasts was examined by immunoblotting. Moreover, the proteins involved in TGF-β1 signaling pathways including TGF-β1 receptors and Smad2 were also analyzed by immunoblotting.

RESULTS: CTGF was highly expressed in fibroblasts, epithelial cells and some of endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and inflammatory cells in phenytoin-induced gingival overgrowth tissues rather than in those of hereditary and inflammatory gingival overgrowth tissues. Moreover, CTGF expression in the epithelial and connective tissue layers was higher in phenytoin-induced gingival overgrowth tissues than in normal gingival tissues. Curcumin was nontoxic and could reduce TGF-β1-induced CTGF expression by attenuating the phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of Smad2.

CONCLUSION: Curcumin can suppress TGF-β1-induced CTGF expression through the interruption of Smad2 signaling.

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