Inhibition of tissue factor gene activation in cultured endothelial cells by curcumin. Suppression of activation of transcription factors Egr-1, AP-1, and NF-kappa B

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997 Dec;17(12):3406-13. doi: 10.1161/01.atv.17.12.3406.


Binding of plasma factor VII(a) to tissue factor (TF) initiates the coagulation cascade. In health, TF is not expressed in endothelial cells. However, endothelial cells express TF in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha), and other biological stimuli. TF expression by endothelial cells is implicated in thrombotic disorders in patients with a variety of clinical disorders. In the present study, we demonstrate that curcumin (diferulolylmethane), a known anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory agent, inhibited phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), LPS, TNF alpha, and thrombin-induced TF activity and TF gene transcription in human endothelial cells. The present data show that curcumin prevented the activation of c-Rel/p65, which is essential for TF gene activation in endothelial cells, by impairing the proteolytic degradation inhibitor protein, I kappa B alpha. The data also show that curcumin downregulated AP-1 binding activity. The present studies are the first to demonstrate that PMA, but not LPS, TNF alpha, and thrombin, induced Egr-1 binding to the second serum-responsive region (SRR-2) of TF promoter and that curcumin inhibited the PMA-induced Egr-1 binding to SRR-2. Overall, the data suggest that the anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may be related to its ability to inhibit cellular gene expression regulated by transcription factors NF-kappa B, AP-1, and Egr-1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Proteins*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • NF-kappa B / genetics*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Thrombin / pharmacology
  • Thromboplastin / genetics*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • EGR1 protein, human
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • NFKBIA protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • Thromboplastin
  • Thrombin
  • Curcumin
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate