Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 360, Issue 1–2, pp 253–260

The short-time treatment with curcumin sufficiently decreases cell viability, induces apoptosis and copper enhances these effects in multidrug-resistant K562/A02 cells



The anti-cancer activities of curcumin (CUR), a polyphenol derived from the plant Curcuma longa, has been extensively studied. In the present study, we found that CUR displayed anti-multidrug-resistant (MDR) activity in K562/A02 cells. A short-time treatment with CUR sufficiently and equally induced DNA damage, decreased cell viability, and triggered apoptosis in parent K562 and MDR K562/A02 cells. The short-time treatment with CUR also caused decrease of pro-caspase 3 in both cell lines and decrease of pro-caspase 9, increase of PARP cleavage and the ratio of Bax/Bcl-xL in MDR K562/A02 cells. Further experiment revealed that CUR was capable of down-regulating P-glycoprotein in MDR K562/A02 cells. Moreover, we observed that Cu2+ enhanced CUR-mediated apoptosis which was blocked by antioxidants N-acetyl-cysteine and catalase. In summary, the short-time treatment with CUR sufficiently induced DNA damage, decreased cell viability and triggered apoptosis in MDR K562/A02 cells and Cu2+ enhanced CUR-mediated apoptosis which due to reactive oxygen species generation.


Apoptosis Copper Curcumin DNA damage Multidrug-resistant 











Tetrazolium bromide




Resistance factor


Reactive oxygen species




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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life SciencesZhejiang Chinese Medical UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Division of Anti-tumor Pharmacology, State Key Laboratory of Drug ResearchShanghai Institutes of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of ScienceShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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