Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Varanasi, India
Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound isolated from the rhizomes of an herbaceous perennial plant, Curcuma longa, is known to possess anticancerous activity. However, the mechanism of apoptosis induction in cancers differs. In this study, we have (1) investigated the anticancerous activity of curcumin on REH and RS4;11 leukemia cells and (2) studied the chemo-sensitizing potential of curcumin for doxorubicin, a drug presently used for leukemia treatment. It was found that curcumin induced a dose dependent decrease in cell viability because of apoptosis induction as visualized by annexin V-FITC/ PI staining. Curcumin-induced apoptosis of leukemia cells was mediated by PARP-1 cleavage. An increased level of caspase-3, apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), cleaved PARP-1 and decreased level of Bcl2 was observed in leukemia cells after 24h of curcumin treatment. In addition, curcumin at doses lower than the IC50 value signi cantly enhanced doxorubicin induced cell death. Therefore, we conclude that curcumin induces apoptosis in leukemia cells via PARP-1 mediated caspase-3 dependent pathway and further may act as a potential chemo-sensitizing agent for doxorubicin. Our study highlights the chemo-preventive and chemo-sensitizing role of curcumin.