Fluoride Action Network



  • Curcumin induced Ac-p53 and p21 to suppress cell proliferation.
  • Curcumin increased p-Akt and attenuated fluoride-mediated apoptosis and DNA damage.
  • Curcumin suppressed fluoride-induced p-p21 and increased p21 in the nuclear fraction.

The trace element fluoride can be beneficial for oral health by preventing dental caries. However, fluoride is also known as an environmental pollutant. Fluoride pollution can lead to fluoride over-ingestion and can cause health issues, including dental fluorosis. Curcumin attenuated fluoride-induced toxicity in animal models, however the molecular mechanisms of how curcumin affects fluoride toxicity remain to be elucidated. We hypothesized that curcumin attenuates fluoride toxicity through modulation of Ac-p53. Here we investigated how curcumin affects the p53-p21 pathway in fluoride toxicity.

LS8 cells were treated with NaF with/without curcumin. Curcumin significantly increased phosphorylation of Akt [Thr308] and attenuated fluoride-mediated caspase-3 cleavage and DNA damage marker yH2AX expression. Curcumin-mediated attenuation of caspase-3 activation was reversed by Akt inhibitor LY294002 (LY). However, LY did not alter curcumin-mediated yH2AX suppression. These results suggest that curcumin inhibited fluoride-mediated apoptosis via Akt activation, but DNA damage was suppressed by other pathways. Curcumin did not suppress/alter fluoride-mediated Ac-p53. However, curcumin itself significantly increased Ac-p53 and upregulated p21 protein levels to suppress cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Curcumin suppressed fluoride-induced phosphorylation of p21 and increased p21 levels within the nuclear fraction. However, curcumin did not reverse fluoride-mediated cell growth inhibition. These results suggest that curcumin-induced Ac-p53 and p21 led to cell cycle arrest, while curcumin attenuated fluoride-mediated apoptosis via activation of Akt and suppressed fluoride-mediated DNA damage.

By inhibiting DNA damage and apoptosis, curcumin may potentially alleviate health issues caused by fluoride pollution. Further studies are required to better understand the mechanism of curcumin-induced biological effects on fluoride toxicity.

Graphical abstract


*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269749121000737?via%3Dihub