Curcumin, a yellow pigment present in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been linked with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, antidiabetic, antirheumatic, and antiviral effects, but its optimum potential is limited by its lack of solubility in aqueous solvents and poor oral bioavailability. We employed a polymer-based nanoparticle approach to improve bioavailability. Curcumin was encapsulated with 97.5% efficiency in biodegradable nanoparticulate formulation based on poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) and a stabilizer polyethylene glycol (PEG)-5000. Dynamic laser light scattering and transmission electron microscopy indicated a particle diameter of 80.9 nm. This curcumin, renamed from hereon "as curcumin (NP)", was characterized for its biological activity. In vitro curcumin (NP) exhibited very rapid and more efficient cellular uptake than curcumin. Estrase staining revealed that curcumin (NP) was at least as potent as or more potent than curcumin in inducing apoptosis of leukemic cells and in suppressing proliferation of various tumor cell lines. When examined by electrophoretic gel shift mobility assay, curcumin (NP) was more active than curcumin in inhibiting TNF-induced NF-κB activation and in suppression of NF-κB-regulated proteins involved in cell proliferation (cyclin D1), invasion (MMP-9), and angiogenesis (VEGF). In mice, curcumin (NP) was more bioavailable and had a longer half-life than curcumin. Overall we demonstrate that curcumin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles formulation has enhanced cellular uptake, and increased bioactivity in vitro and superior bioavailability in vivo over curcumin.
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