Table of Contents
Chinese Journal of Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 396708, 8 pages
Review Article

Structure-Function Elucidation of Antioxidative and Prooxidative Activities of the Polyphenolic Compound Curcumin

1Centre for Nanosciences, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar 382030, India
2Department of Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, Chandigarh, Punjab, India
3Department of Biotechnology, Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Mullana, Haryana, India

Received 8 December 2013; Accepted 16 January 2014; Published 9 March 2014

Academic Editors: A. K. Maiti and B. Niu

Copyright © 2014 Parth Malik and Tapan K. Mukherjee. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Phenolic compounds have been very well known for their antioxidant properties, owing to their unique ability to act as free radical scavengers which, in turn, is an outstanding attribute of their unique biochemical structure. Recent accumulating lines of evidence inculcate sustainable interest and curiosity towards the chemoprotective nature of the natural polyphenolic compound curcumin (diferuloylmethane) against oxidative stress-mediated disorders. Curcumin is naturally found as a constituent of dietary spices called turmeric, extracted from the plant Curcuma longa. However, like every phenolic antioxidant, curcumin possesses a concentration and medium dependent anti- and pro-oxidant behaviour. A detailed study of the structure-function analysis and the understanding of the mode of action of curcumin as well as its chemical analogues is thus essential to understand the selective biochemical consequences of curcumin. Moreover, the presence of transition metal ions, route of administration, and localized tissue are also the vital decisive factors to determine curcumin behaviour. With this viewpoint, this paper sheds lights on the medium dependent prooxidative and antioxidative attributes of curcumin. Further, with respect to emergence of nanocarriers, a brief discussion focusing on the biochemical effect exertion of curcumin chiefly due to targeted and slow release has also been added towards the end.