Curcuminoids distinctly exhibit antioxidant activities and regulate expression of scavenger receptors and heme oxygenase-1

Mei Chun Kou, Shu Yuan Chiou, Ching Yi Weng, Lisu Wang, Chi Tang Ho, Ming Jiuan Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Scope: Curcumin (CUR), demethoxycurcumin (DMC), and bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC) have been demonstrated as having antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and hypocholesterolemic activities. We report the diverse antiatherogenic effects and mechanisms of curcuminoids. Methods and results: We found that CUR was the most potent antioxidant against copper-mediated LDL oxidation as measured by thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances assay, oxidized LDL (oxLDL) ELISA, and electrophoretic mobility. CUR upregulated heme oxygenase-1, modifier subunit of glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCLM), and CD36 expression in undifferentiated THP-1 cells, supporting the possible involvement of Nrf2 pathway in CD36 expression. Monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation plays a vital role in early atherogenesis. BDMC reduced oxLDL uptake most effectively, while CUR was the best inhibitor for CD36, scavenger receptor A, and lectin-like oxidized LDL receptor-1 expression during phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-induced THP-1 differentiation. In PMA-differentiated THP-1 macrophages, CUR and DMC effectively induced heme oxygenase-1 expression, but attenuated oxLDL-induced CD36 expression, leading to decreased oxLDL uptake. Conclusion: This result indicates curcuminoids, despite structural similarities, exert different atheroprotective effects. Curcuminoids, especially CUR and DMC, are hormetic compounds, which induce Phase II enzyme expression and confer resistance to PMA- and oxLDL-induced scavenger receptor expression and activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1598-1610
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


  • CD36
  • Curcumin
  • GCLM
  • HO-1
  • OxLDL uptake


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