Navigation Links
'Holy powder' ingredient makes membranes behave for better health

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Revered in India as "holy powder," the marigold-colored spice known as turmeric has been used for centuries to treat wounds, infections and other health problems. In recent years, research into the healing powers of turmeric's main ingredient, curcumin, has burgeoned, as its astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, antiviral and other properties has been revealed.

Yet little has been known about exactly how curcumin works inside the body.

Now, University of Michigan researchers led by Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy have discovered that curcumin acts as a disciplinarian, inserting itself into cell membranes and making them more orderly, a move that improves cells' resistance to infection and malignancy.

"The membrane goes from being crazy and floppy to being more disciplined and ordered, so that information flow through it can be controlled," said Ramamoorthy, a professor of chemistry and biophysics. The findings were published online March 3 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The research project melds Ramamoorthy's past with his current scientific interests. As a child in India, he was given turmeric-laced milk to drink when he had a cold, and he breathed steam infused with turmeric to relieve congestion. Now as researcher he is fascinated with proteins that are associated with biological membranes, and he uses a technique called solid-state NMR spectroscopy to reveal atom-level details of these important molecules and the membranous milieu in which they operate.

"Probing high-resolution intermolecular interactions in the messy membrane environment has been a major challenge to commonly-used biophysical techniques," Ramamoorthy said. His research group recently developed the two-dimensional solid-state NMR technique that they used to probe curcumin-membrane communication in this study.

Scientists have speculated that curcumin does its health-promoting work by interacting directly with membrane proteins, but the U-M findings challenge that notion. Instead, the researchers found that curcumin regulates the action of membrane proteins indirectly, by changing the physical properties of the membrane.

Ramamoorthy's group now is collaborating with chemistry professor Masato Koreeda and U-M Life Sciences Institute researcher Jason Gestwicki to study a variety of curcumin derivatives, some of which have enhanced potency. "We want to see how these various derivatives interact with the membrane, to see if the interactions are the same as what we have observed in the current study," Ramamoorthy said. "Such a comparative study could lead to the development of potent compounds to treat infection and other diseases."

In a related line of research, Ramamoorthy's team is using the same methods to investigate the effects of curcumin on the formation of amyloids---clumps of fibrous protein believed to be involved in type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and many other maladies. In addition, the researchers are looking to see whether other natural products, such as polyphenols (compounds found in many plant foods that are known to have antioxidant properties) and capsaicin (a pain reliever derived from hot peppers), interact with membranes in the same way as curcumin.


Contact: Nancy Ross-Flanigan
University of Michigan

Related medicine news :

1. IBC Signs New Agreements with Holy Redeemer Health System
2. Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Ignores Community, Environmental Concerns With Planned Expansion of Mission Hills Facility
3. Bulk Powder Processing Solution BFM Fitting on Display This Week at Northwest Food Manufacturing & Packaging Expo
4. Powdered Milk Helps Kids Overcome Milk Allergy
5. Petition Seeking a Cancer Warning on Cosmetic Talc Powder Products
6. Operating Room Nurses are Concerned about Complications Associated with Powdered Gloves
7. Chemical Linked to Reproductive Harm Is Getting Into Babies From Shampoo, Lotion and Powder, New Study Suggests
8. FDA Approves ASMANEX (R) TWISTHALER(R) (Mometasone Furoate Inhalation Powder) for the Once Daily Maintenance Treatment of Asthma in Children Ages 4-11
9. Grape powder blocks genes linked to colon cancer
10. New Generation Xcelodose(R)S Precision Drug Powder Micro-filling System Offers 50% Increased Throughput
11. Gold Not Only Valuable, It's a Healthy Skin Care Ingredient
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution ... the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these ... disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived from many of ... beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the current issue of ... full issue, click here . , For the American Society of Clinical Oncology ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... Final Cut Pro X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a ... fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the American ... Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. ... including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... June 26, 2016 Story ... operating models within the health care industry is causing ... efficiency , Deloitte offers a suite of solutions ... issues impacting efficient cost optimization: labor resource analysis, revenue ... services facilitate better outcomes and better economics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ("Collagen ... and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based medical ... that Bill Messer has joined the ... further leverage the growing portfolio of oral surgery, ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive team ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme Foundation ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , Harvard ... MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, and ... the five finalists of Lyme Innovation , ... than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: