The natural occurring pigment curcumin, a major component of the spice tumeric, has been described to have antioxidative, anti-tumorpromoting, anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It appears, that the pleiotropic effects of curcumin are at least partly due to inhibition of the transcription factors NF-kappa B and AP-1. This study investigates the effect of curcumin on the TNF alpha induced expression of endothelial Tissue Factor (TF), the central mediator of coagulation known to be controlled by AP-1 and NF-kappa B. When bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC) were preincubated in the presence of curcumin, TNF alpha induced TF gene transcription and expression were reduced. Transient transfection studies with TF-promoter plasmids revealed that both, NF-kappa B and AP-1 dependent TF expression, were reduced by curcumin action. The observed inhibitions were due to distinct mechanisms. Curcumin inhibited TNF alpha induced I kappa B alpha degradation and the nuclear import of NF-kappa B. In contrast, inhibition of AP-1 was due to a direct interaction of curcumin with AP-1-binding to its DNA binding motif. Thus, curcumin inhibits NF-kappa B and AP-1 by two different mechanisms and reduces expression of endothelial genes controlled by both transcription factors in vitro.