A Mechanistic Approach for Modulation of Arsenic Toxicity in Human Lymphocytes by Curcumin, an Active Constituent of Medicinal Herb Curcuma longa Linn.
J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2007 Jul;41(1):32-42. PMID: 18392098
Department of Environmental Carcinogenesis&Toxicology, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, 37 S.P. Mukherjee Road, Kolkata 700 026, India.
Chronic exposure of humans to high concentrations of arsenic in drinking water is associated with skin lesions, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, blackfoot disease and a high risk of cancer. Arsenic induces single strand breaks, DNA-protein crosslinks and apurinic sites in DNA, which are prerequisites for induction of cancer. Amelioration of such damages with natural compounds could be an effective strategy to combat arsenic toxicity. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, a common household spice, which is a rich source of polyphenols and this compound has been extensively studied as a chemopreventive agent against many types of cancer. The present study investigates whether curcumin could counteract the DNA damage caused by arsenic as assessed by single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) using peripheral blood lymphocytes, from healthy donors. It was observed that DNA damage induced by arsenic could be efficiently reduced by curcumin and the effect was more pronounced when lymphocytes were pre-incubated with curcumin prior to arsenic insult. Arsenic caused DNA damage by generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and enhancement of lipid peroxidation levels. Curcumin counteracted the damage by quenching ROS, decreasing the level of lipid peroxidation and increasing the level of phase II detoxification enzymes like catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Curcumin also enhanced the DNA repair activity against arsenic induced damage. The expression of polymerase, a repair enzyme, was found to be highly elevated when arsenite induced damaged cells were allowed to repair in presence of curcumin. Results indicate that curcumin has significant role in confronting the deleterious effect caused by arsenic, which could be an economic mode of arsenic mitigation among rural population in West Bengal, India.