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"Antioxidant Properties of Curcumin"
M.N.A. Rao
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
College of Pharmaceutical Sciences

We have investigated the antioxidant properties of curcumin (CC) in detail. The studies showed that CC is a potent scavenger for hydroxyl radical, superoxide anion, singlet oxygen and DPPH, a stable free radical. From pulse radiolysis, the rate for scavenging hydroxyl radical was found to be 4.76 x 10 Ms which is comparable to many potent antioxidants like vitamin-E. Lipid peroxidation induced by radiation and iron or its chelates was strongly inhibited by CC. 

Increase in the lipid peroxidation during post-irradiation period was also inhibited by CC. Further, it also inhibited the oxidation of human LDL. CC protected plasmid pBR322 DNA against single strand breaks induced by singlet oxygen a reactive oxygen species with potential genotoxic and mutagenic properties. CC was more active than beta-carotene, vitamin-E, lipoic acid etc. CC was found to protect hemoglobin against nitrite induced oxidation. 

Further studies showed that the protection is due to its ability to scavenge nitrogen dioxide, an important reactive intermediate. We have compared the antioxidant properties of CC with other related compounds like desmethoxycurcumin, bisdesmethoxycurcumin, acetylcurcumin and feruloyl methane, a simpler analog of curcumin. SAR studies showed that the phenolic, the methoxyl, the 1,3-diketone system and the enolisable styryl ketone make significant contributions to the antioxidant properties of cc.


  H.H.Tonnesen and J. Karlsen Department of Pharmaceutics Institute of Pharmacy, University of Oslo

The rhizomes of the plant Curcuma longa L. have been used for more than 2000 years in the treatment of rheumatic symptoms. The pharmacological activity has been attributed to curcumin and the curcuminoids present in the plant material. The chemistry, stability, photochemical properties and analysis of curcumin have previously been investigated. 

A broad spectrum of biological activity is ascribed to curcumin. Screening of curcumin in various test systems have been carried out, and effects on cell systems, enzymes, etc. are documented. Curcumin has recently been discussed as a potential drug or drug model in the treatment of broad spectrum of disease, e.g. cancer, HIV infections, thalassemia, and psoriasis. Curcumin seems to play an important role in red-ox and radical reactions, and the various mechanism of action under investigation. The lecture will discuss the recent development in the use of curcumin as a potential drug or drug model with emphasis on antioxidant effects. 

The distance from a naturally occurring compound with some postulated pharmacological effects to a modern drug is long, and the possibilities for the use of curcumin as a drug compound will be valuated with respect to pharmacological, toxicological and
chemical properties.

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