Effects of curcumin on the proliferation and mineralization of human osteoblast-like cells: implications of nitric oxide.
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is found in the rhizomes of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa L.) and has been used for centuries as a dietary spice and as a traditional Indian medicine used to treat different conditions. At the cellular level, curcumin modulates important molecular targets: transcription factors, enzymes, cell cycle proteins, cytokines, receptors and cell surface adhesion molecules. Because many of the curcumin targets mentioned above participate in the regulation of bone remodeling, curcumin may affect the skeletal system. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous molecule generated from L-arginine during the catalization of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and it plays crucial roles in catalization and in the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems. Human osteoblasts have been shown to express NOS isoforms, and the exact mechanism(s) by which NO regulates bone formation remain unclear. Curcumin has been widely described to inhibit inducible nitric oxide synthase expression and nitric oxide production, at least in part via direct interference in NF-κB activation. In the present study, after exposure of human osteoblast-like cells (MG-63), we have observed that curcumin abrogated inducible NOS expression and decreased NO levels, inhibiting also cell prolifieration. This effect was prevented by the NO donor sodium nitroprusside. Under osteogenic conditions, curcumin also decreased the level of mineralization. Our results indicate that NO plays a role in the osteoblastic profile of MG-63 cells.