Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a yellow polyphenol found in the rhizome of the annual herb turmeric
(Curcuma longa) belonging to the family Zingiberaceae. Its interaction with a huge number of molecular targets like
cytokines, growth factors, transcription factors, receptors, pro-inflammatory enzymes, protein kinases and adhesion
molecules has been studied extensively. Interaction of curcumin with nucleic acids has been the focus of extensive
research in recent years. Curcumin is observed to be genotoxic and antigenotoxic agent in time and concentration
dependent manner. Curcumin and its derivatives either alone or as metal complexes have been reported to bind directly to
DNA. The interactions are mainly as DNA minor groove binding or as DNA intercalating agents. The similarity in the
shape of curcumin to DNA minor groove binding drugs is the motivation for exploring its binding to DNA minor grooves.
Thus curcumin is a “double edged sword”: having therapeutic potential as a minor groove binder but at the same time it
may cause DNA damage in the cell at high concentration. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current
information related to interaction of curcumin metal complexes and its derivatives with nucleic acids and the implication
such interaction can have on therapeutics.
Keywords: Curcumin metal complex, Genotoxic and antigenotoxic agent, Reactive oxygen species (ROS), DNA damage,
DNA minor groove binding, DNA intercalation
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport