Curcumin-induced apoptosis in human leukemia cell HL-60 is associated with inhibition of telomerase activity

  • Sutapa Mukherjee (nee Chakraborty)
  • Utpal Ghosh
  • N. P. Bhattacharyya
  • R. K. Bhattacharya
  • Subhabrata Dey
  • Madhumita Roy


Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a natural cancer chemopreventive compound, has been tested for its action in acute myeloblastic leukemia cell line HL-60. The results clearly show that curcumin induces apoptosis in these cells as evidenced by the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria to the cytosol and increase in the DNA content in sub G1 region as observed in FACS analysis. Apoptosis is apparently mediated by up-regulation of apoptotic gene bax and simultaneous down-regulation of anti-apoptotic gene bcl-2 followed by activation of caspases 3 and 8 and degradation of PARP. Telomerase, a reverse transcriptase, has been found to be activated in more than 80% of human cancers and, therefore, can be considered as a potential marker for tumorigenesis. Certain natural compounds have the potential of inhibiting telomerase activity leading to suppression of cell viability and induction of apoptosis. The present study shows that curcumin-induced apoptosis coincides with the inhibition of telomerase activity in a dose dependent manner.


apoptosis Bcl-2/Bax caspase curcumin cytochrome c HL-60 telomerase 



The authors are thankful to Director, Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute and Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics for providing all the infrastructural facility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sutapa Mukherjee (nee Chakraborty)
    • 1
  • Utpal Ghosh
    • 3
  • N. P. Bhattacharyya
    • 3
  • R. K. Bhattacharya
    • 1
  • Subhabrata Dey
    • 2
  • Madhumita Roy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Carcinogenesis & ToxicologyChittaranjan National Cancer InstituteKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Unit of HPLC, Central Research Instrumentation FacilityChittaranjan National Cancer InstituteKolkataIndia
  3. 3.Crystallography & Molecular Biology DivisionSaha Institute of Nuclear PhysicsKolkataIndia

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