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Effect of Curcumin on Steroid Sulfatase Activity in the Rat Liver

Mia DiFrancesco, Barathi Balasubramonian, and Dr. Kyle Selcer, Department of Biological Sciences, Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Turmeric is a spice derived from the root of the herb (Curcuma longa) that is used throughout Asia as a flavoring and coloring agent in food and as a medicinal herb. Turmeric is taken for depression, diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, cancers, and other conditions. Scientific study of turmeric is limited and the results are mixed. While there are indications of beneficial effects of turmeric as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, antimicrobial and anticancer agent, more research is needed. Among the bioactive compounds in turmeric, much emphasis has been on the polyphenol compound curcumin (1,7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione) and its analogs demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These compounds comprise about 3% of turmeric. Our laboratory has been studying activity and regulation of the enzyme steroid sulfatase (STS), and we found that it is upregulated by inflammation in bone and liver cells. Our interest in curcumin stems from its reported anti-inflammatory activity. This paper examines the effect of curcumin on STS activity in rat liver, a tissue known to have high levels of STS and a model for metabolic inflammation. We measured STS activity in rat liver homogenates with and without curcumin (0.1, 1.0 and 10µM). The 10µM curcumin group showed a slight (11%) but significant reduction in STS activity compared to the control group, while the 1.0 and 0.1µM groups were similar to control. A second experiment using 10 and 20µM curcumin showed significant reductions in STS activity in both treatment groups with 18% for 10µM and 38% for 20µM. These data reveal that curcumin decreases STS activity in rat liver homogenates. The mechanism for the decrease is likely to be competitive interference with STS substrate, which in these experiments was estrone sulfate. Future experiments will explore whether curcumin can regulate STS activity, in addition to blocking it.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Mia DiFrancesco

Institution: Duquesne University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 2
Date/Time: Mon 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 2666