Activation of apoptotic protein in U937 cells by a component of turmeric oil

  • Lee, Yong-Kyu (Department of Food and Biotechnology, Dongseo University)
  • Published : 2009.02.28


Aromatic (ar)-turmerone from turmeric oil displays anti-tumorigenesis activity that includes inhibited cell proliferation. This study investigated ar-turmerone-mediated apoptotic protein activation in human lymphoma U937 cells. Ar-turmerone treatment inhibited U937 cell viability in a concentration-dependent fashion, with inhibition exceeding 84%. Moreover, the treatment produced nucleosomal DNA fragmentation and the percentage of sub-diploid cells increased in a concentration-dependent manner; both are hallmarks of apoptosis. The apoptotic effect of ar-turmerone was associated with the induction of Bax and p53 proteins, rather than Bcl-2 and p21. Activation of mitochondrial cytochrome c and caspase-3 demonstrated that the activation of caspases accompanied the apoptotic effect of ar-turmerone, which mediated cell death. These results suggest that the apoptotic effect of ar-turmerone on U937 cells may involve caspase-3 activation through the induction of Bax and p53, rather than Bcl-2 and p21.


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