Curcumin overcomes the inhibitory effect of nitric oxide on Leishmania
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- Chan, M.MY., Adapala, N.S. & Fong, D. Parasitol Res (2005) 96: 49. doi:10.1007/s00436-005-1323-9
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Upon Leishmania infection, macrophages are activated to produce nitrogen and oxygen radicals simultaneously. It is well established that the infected host cells rely on nitric oxide (NO) as the major weapon against the intracellular parasite. In India where leishmaniasis is endemic, the spice turmeric is used prolifically in food and for insect bites. Curcumin, the active principle of turmeric, is a scavenger of NO. This report shows that curcumin protects promastigotes and amastigotes of the visceral species, Leishmania donovani, and promastigotes of the cutaneous species, L. major, against the actions of S-nitroso-N-acetyl-D,L-penicillamine (SNAP) and DETANONOate, which release NO, 3-morpholino-sydnonimine hydrochloride (SIN-1), which releases NO and superoxide, and peroxynitrite, which is formed from the reaction of NO with superoxide. Thus, curcumin, as an antioxidant, is capable of blocking the action of both NO and NO congeners on the Leishmania parasite.