Curcumin is well known to possess diverse therapeutic properties, one of which is
its antimalarial activity. It has been reported to show synergistic activity in combination with
plant extracts like Andrographis paniculata and Hedyotis corymbosa as well as with standard
drugs like artemisinin against malaria parasites. Individually it has shown potential in successfully
combating both human and rodent malaria species. Its mode of action has been attributed
to the inhibition of the histone acetyl transferase (HAT) enzyme and formation of reactive
oxygen species (ROS) in the malaria parasite leading to an increase in the intracellular
ROS, causing cellular damage. Development of synthetic analogs of curcumin to augment its
activity and to negate the effects of first pass metabolism, are being developed by researchers.
In this article, we present an up to date review of the different traditional and scientific approaches
involving curcumin, including its natural and synthetic analogs and in silico studies,
specifically against malarial parasites which would be beneficial in understanding of the
structure activity relationship and pave the way for designing and development of curcumin
based agents with higher efficacy and therapeutic potential.
Keywords: Analogs, curcumin, docking, malaria, PfATP, Plasmodium.
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