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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 706207, 9 pages
Research Article

Curcumin Protects Neurons from Glutamate-Induced Excitotoxicity by Membrane Anchored AKAP79-PKA Interaction Network

Kui Chen,1,2 Yu An,1,2 Lu Tie,1,2 Yan Pan,1,2 and Xuejun Li1,2

1State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, Department of Pharmacology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China
2Beijing Key Laboratory of Tumor Systems Biology, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China

Received 31 January 2015; Revised 17 May 2015; Accepted 25 May 2015

Academic Editor: David Mischoulon

Copyright © 2015 Kui Chen et al. 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.


Now stimulation of AMPA receptor as well as its downstream pathways is considered as potential central mediators in antidepressant mechanisms. As a signal integrator which binds to AMPA receptor, A-kinase anchoring protein 79-(AKAP79-) PKA complex is regarded as a potential drug target to exert neuroprotective effects. A well-tolerated and multitarget drug curcumin has been confirmed to exert antidepressant-like effects. To explore whether AKAP79-PKA complex is involved in curcumin-mediated antiexcitotoxicity, we detected calcium signaling, subcellular location of AKAP79-PKA complex, phosphorylation of glutamate receptor, and ERK and AKT cascades. In this study, we found that curcumin protected neurons from glutamate insult by reducing Ca2+ influx and blocking the translocation of AKAP79 from cytomembrane to cytoplasm. In parallel, curcumin enhanced the phosphorylation of AMPA receptor and its downstream pathways in PKA-dependent manner. If we pretreated cells with PKA anchoring inhibitor Ht31 to disassociate PKA from AKAP79, no neuroprotective effects were observed. In conclusion, our results show that AKAP79-anchored PKA facilitated the signal relay from AMPA receptor to AKT and ERK cascades, which may be crucial for curcumin-mediated antiexcitotoxicity.