Enhanced apoptosis mediates inhibition of EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell line proliferation by curcumin

Dinesh Ranjan, Thomas D. Johnston, Kunam S. Reddy, Guanghan Wu, Subbarao Bondada, Changguo Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated B-cell lymphomas occur more frequently in immunodeficient states such as organ transplantation and HIV infection. We have previously reported that B cell immortalization with EBV was promoted by cyclosporin A (CyA) and that curcumin (Cur), a natural phenol with known antioxidant and antitumor properties, blocked EBV-induced B cell immortalization. In the following experiments we show that Cur inhibits the proliferation of EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) via enhanced apoptosis. Methods. LCL were generated by infecting freshly isolated human B cells with EBV (B95-8) for 12 h and coculturing with predetermined optimal concentrations of CyA (500 ng/ml) for 4 weeks. LCL were then either frozen for future use or propagated for immediate experiments. These cells were then plated in 96-well plates with 20 μM Cur or 0.1% DMSO (vehicle control). The number of immortalized colonies/well, cell count, and 3H uptake were used as an index of immortalization. To assess apoptosis rate LCL were cultured with 0.1% DMSO or Cur (20 μM) for 0, 18, and 42 h in culture flasks and then stained with MC540 and H33342, as markers for apoptosis, and analyzed by FACS. Results. A profound inhibition of proliferation was seen in the LCL with 20 μM curcumin compared to 0.1% DMSO control. The colony count reduced from 34.5 ± 3.4 to 0/well (P = 0.005), cell number reduced from 101,250 ± 12,093 to 3750 ± 1500/well (P = 0.002), and 3H uptake reduced from 40,889 ± 3669 to 70 ± 5.2/well (P = 0.001). The apoptosis rate of LCL in the DMSO control at 24.07 and 16.87% increased significantly with 20 μM Cur to 76.4 and 95.1% at 18 and 42 h, respectively (P = 0.02). Conclusion. Cur is a potent inhibitor of EBV-transformed LCL. This effect appears to be mediated through enhanced apoptosis. A further investigation of this effect may be useful in prevention and therapy of B-cell lymphoma in immunodeficient patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Apoptosis
  • B cell lymphoma
  • Curcumin
  • Lymphoblastoid cell line
  • PTLD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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