Mechanisms behind the Fibrillation and Toxicity of Insulin Fibrils on Neuron Cells by Engineered Curcumin Analogs

Publication Name

ACS Chemical Neuroscience


Among foods, the use of plant derivatives as promising drugs and/or excipients has been considered from various perspectives. In the present study, curcumin, which is one of the most important plant derivatives for biological uses, and four curcumin-based pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine analogs (C2-C5) were used for investigating the mechanism of insulin fibrillation and evaluating the cytotoxicity of insulin fibrils. The synthesized analogs differed in terms of hydrophobicity and electrostatic charge. The analogs with more hydrophobicity (C1 and C4) in both acidic and neutral environments were able to reduce the rate of insulin fibrillation and the degree of cross-linking in the produced fibrils. Additionally, the toxicity of these fibrils for neural cells (N2a cell line) was very low. However, they did not show any significant effects on the toxicity of non-neural cells (HEK293 cell line), indicating the effect of the biochemical surface diversity on determining the vulnerability to fibrils and even the mechanism of action of additives on cell line survival. Although negatively charged analogs were able to reduce insulin fibrillation in the acidic environment, they indicated an opposite effect in the neutral environment. The resultant fibrils in the acidic medium appeared with a well-distinguished filament, but they were very close at neutral pH levels. Moreover, such fibrils indicated very poor toxicity against the N2a cell line and had no significant effects on HEK293 cells. Considering the docking studies, by creatively using the size exclusion chromatography, it was suggested that analogs C2 and C3 were capable of binding to the C-terminal end of the insulin B chain (low affinity) and HisB10 (high affinity). Hence, it was suggested that different compounds could play different protecting and/or destroying roles in cell toxicity by blocking some ligands at the surface of neuron cells.

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Iran National Science Foundation



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