2005 Volume 28 Issue 8 Pages 1438-1443
The anti-allergic and anti-oxidative activities of curcumin-related compounds (glycosides, reductants and bis-demethoxy analogs) were investigated to elucidate the underlying active mechanisms and structural features of curcumin in exerting these activities. The anti-allergic activities were assessed by measurement of histamine release from rat basophilic leukemia cells, RBL-2H3. Curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) caused a marked decrease in histamine release. Glycosides of curcumin, bis-demethoxycurcumin and THC also inhibited the release of histamine, though less potently than curcumin did. The anti-oxidative activities were assessed by measurement of cell-free or cellular radical scavenging. All compounds but diglycosides or bis-demethoxycurcumin analogs distinctly exerted anti-oxidative effects. The relationship between both of these activities revealed that all compounds with potent radical scavenging activities caused a definite decrease in histamine release, but some compounds with non-potent radical scavenging activities also inhibited the histamine release. These results suggest that the hydroxy groups of curcumin play a significant role in exerting both the anti-oxidative and anti-allergic activities, and that most of the compounds develop the anti-allergic activities through mechanisms related to anti-oxidative activities, but some through mechanisms unrelated to anti-oxidation activity.