The inhibitory role of curcumin derivatives on AMPA receptor subunits and their effect on the gating biophysical properties

Mohammad Qneibi*, Othman Hamed, Oswa Fares, Nidal Jaradat, Abdel Razzak Natsheh, Qais AbuHasan, Nour Emwas, Rana Al-Kerm, Rola Al-Kerm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Curcumin is a natural polyphenol that has a broad spectrum of therapeutic characters, including neuroprotective actions against various neurological diseases. However, the molecular mechanism behind its neuroprotective properties remains obscure. The current study investigated the neuroprotective properties of 7 different curcumin derivatives on the gating biophysical properties of AMPA receptors, specifically on the calcium-permeable homomeric GluA1 and calcium impermeable heteromeric GluA1/A2 subunits. Due to the association between excessive activation of AMPARs and neurotoxicity linked to numerous pathologies, we aim to target and manipulate the kinetics of AMPARs through these derivatives. The current study used patch-clamp electrophysiology to measure the whole-cell currents in the presence and absence of the curcumin derivatives onto HEK293 cells expressing AMPA subunits. Our results showed that some of the curcumin derivatives showed an inhibitory effect and altered the gating biophysical properties, namely, deactivation and desensitization. In the presence of those derivatives, the peak current measured was significantly reduced, and the desensitization and deactivation rates decreased as well, achieving slower kinetics of the receptor and depressing its activity. These results suggest that the two most promising derivatives have inhibitory actions and act as allosteric modulators. Many neurological diseases like epilepsy, ALS, and strokes are associated with overactivation of AMPA receptors. We can potentially synthesize a more potent neuroprotective drug to treat those neurological diseases, by understanding the most stable chemical interaction between the derivative and the receptor underlying the reported neuronal depressive properties.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104951
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • AMPA receptors
  • Activation
  • Curcumin derivatives
  • Deactivation
  • Desensitization
  • Neuroprotective


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