The dietary pigment curcumin reduces endothelial tissue factor gene expression by inhibiting binding of AP-1 to the DNA and activation of NF-kappa B

Thromb Haemost. 1997 Apr;77(4):772-82.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Coloring Agents
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Thromboplastin / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Coloring Agents
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Thromboplastin
  • Curcumin