Modulation of curcumin-induced Akt phosphorylation and apoptosis by PI3K inhibitor in MCF-7 cells

Jaleel Kizhakkayil, Faisal Thayyullathil, Shahanas Chathoth, Abdulkader Hago, Mahendra Patel, Sehamuddin Galadari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Curcumin has been shown to induce apoptosis in various malignant cancer cell lines. One mechanism of curcumin-induced apoptosis is through the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Akt, also known as protein kinase B (PKB), is a member of the family of phosphatidylinositol 3-OH-kinase regulated Ser/Thr kinases. The active Akt regulates cell survival and proliferation; and inhibits apoptosis. In this study we found that curcumin induces apoptotic cell death in MCF-7 cells, as assessed by MTT assay, DNA ladder formation, PARP cleavage, p53 and Bax induction. At apoptotic inducing concentration, curcumin induces a dramatic Akt phosphorylation, accompanied by an increased phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), which has been considered to be a pro-growth signaling molecule. Combining curcumin with PI3K inhibitor, LY290042, synergizes the apoptotic effect of curcumin. The inhibitor LY290042 was capable of attenuating curcumin-induced Akt phosphorylation and activation of GSK3β. All together, our data suggest that blocking the PI3K/Akt survival pathway sensitizes the curcumin-induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-481
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 9 2010


  • Akt phosphorylation
  • Apoptosis
  • Curcumin
  • MCF-7 cells
  • PI3K inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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