Novel curcumin analogue 14p protects against myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury through Nrf2-activating anti-oxidative activity

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Alleviating the oxidant stress associated with myocardial ischemia reperfusion has been demonstrated as a potential therapeutic approach to limit ischemia reperfusion (I/R)-induced cardiac damage. Curcumin, a natural compound with anti-oxidative activity, exerts beneficial effect against cardiac I/R injury, but poor chemical and metabolic stability. Previously, we have designed and synthesized a series of mono-carbonyl analogues of curcumin (MACs) with high stability. This study aims to find new anti-oxidant MACs and to demonstrate their effects and mechanisms against I/R-induced heart injury.


H9c2 cells challenged with H2O2 or TBHP were used for in vitro bio-screening and mechanistic studies. The MDA, H2O2 and SOD levels in H9C2 cells were determined, and the cell viability was assessed by MTT assay. Myocardial I/R mouse models administrated with or without the compound were used for in vivo studies.


The in vitro cell-based screening showed that curcumin analogues 8d and 14p exhibited strong anti-oxidative effects. Pre-treatment of H9c2 cells with 14p activated Nrf2 signaling pathway, attenuated H2O2-increased MDA and SOD level, followed by the inhibition of TBHP-induced cell death and Bax/Bcl-2–caspase-3 pathway activation. Silencing Nrf2 significantly reversed the protective effects of 14p. In in vivo animal model of myocardial I/R, administration of low dose 14p (10 mg/kg) reduced infarct size and myocardial apoptosis to the same extent as the high dose curcumin (100 mg/kg).


These data support the novel curcumin analogue 14p as a promising antioxidant to decrease oxidative stress and limit myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury via activating Nrf2.

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