Curcumin induces apoptosis by inhibiting sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase activity in ovarian cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2015 Nov 23. Epub 2015 Nov 23. PMID: 26607901
Aberrant increase in the expression levels of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA), which regulates Ca(2+) homeostasis, has been observed in ovarian cancers. In this study, we demonstrated that curcumin increases cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration through inhibition of SERCA activity, causing apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells but not in normal cells, including peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and ovarian surface epithelial cells (OSE). Curcumin induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Cytosolic Ca(2+) flux was evident after the curcumin treatment (15 µM). Treatment with Ca(2+) chelator reduced curcumin-induced apoptosis, confirming the possible involvement of increased cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration in this response. Basal mRNA and protein levels of SERCA2 were significantly higher in ovarian cancer cells than in OSE. SERCA activity was suppressed by curcumin, with no effect on protein expression. Forced expression of the SERCA2b gene in ovarian cancer cells prevented curcumin-induced cytosolic Ca(2+) elevation and subsequent apoptosis, supporting an important role of SERCA in curcumin-induced apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells. Taken together, inhibition of SERCA activity by curcumin disrupts the Ca(2+) homeostasis and thereby promotes apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells.