Research Study – Fibril Formation with the Help of Curcumin

Human Serum Albumin (HSA) is a protein present in abundance in blood plasma. 60% of the total blood protein is HSA. It is formed in the human liver.

Its primary function is to transport water-insoluble solutes, fatty acids, amino acids, Cu2+, Zn2+, metabolites and drugs like penicillin to target organs through blood.

It also helps in the maintenance of fluid levels outside cells, pH and blood pressure.

Proteins like HSA self- aggregate at high concentration and high temperatures to form amorphous structures which lead to formation of amyloid aggregates and amyloid fibrils.

This protein aggregation can lead to a number of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Prion disease, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob etc. Prevention of aggregation of proteins is necessary to avoid these diseases.

The study

A recent research conducted by scientists from the University of Mumbai states that Curcumin has a potential to reduce the amorphous aggregates of HSA isomers to fibrils.

Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound found in rhizomes of turmeric plant (Curcuma longa). It possesses powerful medicinal properties.

The therapeutic activity of Curcumin has been extensively researched and it has been found that it can prevent and treat a number of cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurodegenerative and allergic diseases.

There are 3 isomers of Human serum albumin. The N isomer exists at pH 7, F isomer at pH 3.4 and E isomer at pH 1.8. At high concentrations, the F and E isomers of HSA build amorphous aggregates irrespective of the presence or absence of Curcumin.

However, when treated with Curcumin, the secondary and tertiary structure of the F isomer undergoes changes leading to fibril formation. The thermal stability of the F isomer aggregate gets altered in the presence of Curcumin.

This study indicates that changes in the protein structure can be brought about with the help of Curcumin. This study can be very helpful in learning about fibril formation induced by ligands.


Curcumin, the most bioactive compound in turmeric can help against various diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease etc. by destroying the amyloid aggregation responsible for pathogenicity of such diseases.

Human serum albumin (HSA), an important protein in human blood serum responsible for transport of materials to various organs forms structural aggregates at high concentrations.

The F and E isomers present at pH 3.4 and 1.8 respectively are responsible for this aggregation. It was observed that Curcumin has the ability to transform amorphous aggregates of F isomer of HSA to fibrils.

This is an important discovery and can help in further study and understanding of fibril formation of proteins from amorphous aggregates.

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