Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) is a key signaling molecule in the elaboration of the inflammatory response. Data indicate that curcumin, a natural ingredient of the curry spice turmeric, acts as a NF-κB inhibitor and exhibits both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Curcumin analogs with enhanced activity on NF-κB and other inflammatory signaling pathways have been developed including the synthetic monoketone compound 3,5-Bis(2-fluorobenzylidene)-4-piperidone (EF24). 3,5-Bis(2- pyridinylmethylidene)-4-piperidone (EF31) is a structurally-related curcumin analog whose potency for NF-κB inhibition has yet to be determined. To examine the activity of EF31 compared to EF24 and curcumin, mouse RAW264.7 macrophages were treated with EF31, EF24, curcumin (1-100 μM) or vehicle (DMSO 1%) for 1 h. NF-κB pathway activity was assessed following treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (1 μg/mL). EF31 (IC50∼ 5 μM) exhibited significantly more potent inhibition of LPS-induced NF-κB DNA binding compared to both EF24 (IC50∼ 35 μM) and curcumin (IC50> 50 μM). In addition, EF31 exhibited greater inhibition of NF-κB nuclear translocation as well as the induction of downstream inflammatory mediators including pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA and protein (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-6). Regarding the mechanism of these effects on NF-κB, EF31 (IC50∼ 1.92 μM) exhibited significantly greater inhibition of IκB kinase β compared to EF24 (IC50∼ 131 μM). Finally, EF31 demonstrated potent toxicity in NF-κB-dependent cancer cell lines while having minimal and reversible toxicity in RAW264.7 macrophages. These data indicate that EF31 is a more potent inhibitor of NF-κB activity than either EF24 or curcumin while exhibiting both anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. Thus, EF31 represents a promising curcumin analog for further therapeutic development. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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