Curcumin blocks activation of pancreatic stellate cells

Atsushi Masamune, Noriaki Suzuki, Kazuhiro Kikuta, Masahiro Satoh, Kennichi Satoh, Tooru Shimosegawa

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78 Citations (Scopus)


Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of pancreatic fibrosis and inflammation. Inhibition of activation and cells functions of PSCs is a potential target for the treatment of pancreatic fibrosis and inflammation. The polyphenol compound curcumin is the yellow pigment in curry, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties. We here evaluated the effects of curcumin on the activation and cell functions of PSCs. PSCs were isolated from rat pancreas tissue and used in their culture-activated, myofibroblast-like phenotype unless otherwise stated. The effects of curcumin on proliferation, α-smooth muscle actin gene expression, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 production, and collagen expression were examined. The effect of curcumin on the activation of freshly isolated cells in culture was also assessed. Curcumin inhibited platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced proliferation, α-smooth muscle actin gene expression, interleukin-1β- and tumor necrosis factor(TNF)-α-induced MCP-1 production, type I collagen production, and expression of type I and type III collagen genes. Curcumin inhibited PDGF-BB-induced cyclin D1 expression and activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Curcumin inhibited interleukin-1β-and TNF-α-induced activation of activator protein-1 (AP-1) and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases (ERK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and p38 MAP kinase), but not of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). In addition, curcumin inhibited transformation of freshly isolated cells to myofibroblast-like phenotype. In conclusion, curcumin inhibited key cell functions and activation of PSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1093
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Apr 1


  • Curcumin
  • Pancreatic fibrosis
  • Pancreatic stellate cells
  • Pancreatitis
  • Polyphenol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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