Our preliminary screening had shown that the curcumin derivative [2,6-bis(2,5-dimethoxybenzylidene)cyclohexanone] or BDMC33 exhibited improved anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting nitric oxide synthesis in activated macrophage cells. In this study, we further investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of BDMC33 on PGE(2 )synthesis and cyclooxygenase (COX) expression in IFN-γ/LPS-stimulated macrophages. We found that BDMC33 significantly inhibited PGE(2) synthesis in a concentration-dependent manner albeit at a low inhibition level with an IC(50) value of 47.33 ± 1.00 µM. Interestingly, the PGE(2) inhibitory activity of BDMC33 is not attributed to inhibition of the COX enzyme activities, but rather BDMC33 selectively down-regulated the expression of COX-2. In addition, BDMC33 modulates the COX expression by sustaining the constitutively COX-1 expression in IFN-γ/LPS-treated macrophage cells. Collectively, the experimental data suggest an immunodulatory action of BDMC33 on PGE(2) synthesis and COX expression, making it a possible treatment for inflammatory disorders with minimal gastrointestinal-related side effects.
Chronic inflammation intensifies the risk for malignant neoplasm, indicating that curbing inflammation could be a valid strategy to prevent or cure cancer. Cancer and inflammation are inter-related diseases and many anti-inflammatory agents are also used in chemotherapy. Earlier, we have reported a series of novel ligands and respective binuclear Ag(I)-NHC complexes (NHC=N-heterocyclic carbene) with potential anticancer activity. In the present study, a newly synthesized salt (II) and respective Ag(I)-NHC complex (III) of comparable molecular framework were prepared for a further detailed study. Preliminarily, II and III were screened against HCT-116 and PC-3 cells, wherein III showed better results than II. Both the compounds showed negligible toxicity against normal CCD-18Co cells. In FAM-FLICA caspase assay, III remarkably induced caspase-3/7 in HCT-116 cells most probably by tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) independent intrinsic pathway and significantly inhibited in vitro synthesis of cytokines, interleukin-1 (IL-1) and TNF-α in human macrophages (U937 cells). In a cell-free system, both the compounds inhibited cyclooxygenase (COX) activities, with III being more selective towards COX-2. The results revealed that III has strong antiproliferative property selectively against colorectal tumor cells which could be attributed to its pro-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory abilities.
The syntheses and bioactivities of symmetrical curcumin and its analogues have been the subject of interest by many medicinal chemists and pharmacologists over the years. To improve our understanding, we have synthesized a series of unsymmetrical monocarbonyl curcumin analogues and evaluated their effects on prostaglandin E2 production in lipopolysaccharide-induced RAW264.7 and U937 cells. Initially, compounds 8b and 8c exhibited strong inhibition on the production of PGE2 in both LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 (8b, IC50=12.01μM and 8c, IC50=4.86μM) and U937 (8b, IC50=3.44μM and 8c, IC50=1.65μM) cells. Placing vanillin at position Ar2 further improved the potency when both compounds 15a and 15b significantly lowered the PGE2 secretion level (RAW264.7: 15a, IC50=0.78μM and 15b, IC50=1.9μM while U937: 15a, IC50=0.95μM and 15b, IC50=0.92μM). Further experiment showed that compounds 8b, 8c, 15a and 15b did not target the activity of downstream inflammatory COX-2 mediator. Finally, docking simulation on protein targets COX-2, IKK-β, ERK, JNK2, p38α and p38β were performed using the conformation of 15a determined by single-crystal XRD.