Curcumin-mediated decrease in the expression of nucleolar organizer regions in cervical cancer (HeLa) cells.
Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen. 2014 Sep 1 ;771:43-52. Epub 2014 Jul 9. PMID: 25308441
Curcumin, the major yellow-orange pigment of turmeric derived from the rhizome of Curcuma longa, is a highly pleiotropic molecule with the potential to modulate inflammation, oxidative stress, cell survival, cell secretion, homeostasis and proliferation. Curcumin, at relatively high concentrations, was repeatedly reported to be a potent inducer of apoptosis in cancer cells and thus considered a promising anticancer agent. In the present paper, the effects of low concentrations of curcumin on human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells were studied. We found curcumin-mediated decrease in the cell number and viability, and increase in apoptotic events and superoxide level. In contrast to previously shown curcumin cytotoxicity toward different cervical cancer lines, we observed toxic effects when even as low as 1μM concentration of curcumin was used. Curcumin was not genotoxic to HeLa cells. Because argyrophilic nucleolar protein (AgNOR protein) expression is elevated in malignant cells compared to normal cells reflecting the rapidity of cancer cell proliferation, we evaluated curcumin-associated changes in size (area) and number of silver deposits. We showed curcumin-induced decrease in AgNOR protein pools, which may be mediated by global DNA hypermethylation observed after low concentration curcumin treatment. In summary, we have shown for the first time that curcumin at low micromolar range may beeffective against HeLa cells, which may have implications for curcumin-based treatment of cervical cancer in humans.