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Curcumin (turmeric) and its evolving role in skin health

  • T. Gonzalez
  • A. Sethi
Chapter
Part of the Human Health Handbooks no. 1 book series (HHH, volume 2)

Abstract

Turmeric is a spice that has been used for centuries by the Middle East and Asian cultures. The primary active constituent of turmeric is derived from the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa L from the genus Zingiberaceae (Ginger family). This tropical plant is widely cultivated in the South Asia region, especially India, where it has been used for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Its uses range from being a condiment in the famous curry sauce, a coloring agent, as well as to cure many diseases and conditions in traditional medicine. Extensive research within the last century with this tropical root have demonstrated that its medical powers are linked to curcumin, the main and most active constituent of the root. Curcumin effects are mediated through the regulation of various transcription factors, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, and other enzymes. It has an unprecedented number of molecular targets giving it a unique power to control many molecular pathways that could lead to diseases. Its effects on these pathways are particularly well documented in the scientific literature. These targets include nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kB) and its associated protein kinases, AP-1, lipooxigenases, plasminogen activator, cyclooxygenase-2, tumor growth factor beta (TGF-ß) and many others. It is by blocking or promoting these molecular targets that curcumin is being studied as a potential anti-carcinogenic, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and chemo preventive agent. In dermatology, curcumin has been utilized in diseases such as: skin cancers, psoriasis, and acne, wound healing and keloids. By affecting different but related pathways, curcumin has shown great potential not only for the treatment of skin diseases but also for their prevention. The main objective for this chapter is to describe the different molecular pathways targeted by curcumin and explain, by reviewing the scientific literature, how these are potential remedies for skin diseases.

Keywords

tumeric curry cancer psoriasis acne wound healing keloids AP-1 NF-kROS antioxidant 

Abbreviations

AP-1

Activator protein 1

ATP

Adenosine triphosphate

cAMP

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

COX-2

Cyclooxygenase-2

EGF

Epidermal growth factor

EGFR

Endothelial growth factor

JNK

Jun N-terminal kinase

KF

Keloid fibroblasts

MAPK

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

MMP

Matrix metalloproteinase

NF-kB

Nuclear factor kappa beta

PAI

Plasminogen activator inhibitor

PhK

Phophorylase kinase enzyme

RKC

Receptors protein kinases

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

TGF-ß

Tumor growth factor beta

TIMP

Tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase

TNF-α

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha

TNFR

Tumor necrosis factor receptor

tPA

Tissue plasminogen activator

TPA

12- O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate

uPA

Urokinase plasminogen activator

UV

Ultraviolet

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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Gonzalez
    • 1
  • A. Sethi
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Puerto Rico, School of MedicineSan JuanUSA
  2. 2.University of Chicago, Section of DermatologyChicagoUSA

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