The problem of therapeutic resistance and chemotherapeutic efficacy is tricky and critical in the management of colorectal cancer (CRC). Curcumin is a promising anti-cancer agent. Heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) is correlated with CRC progression and is said to affect CRC response to different therapies. However, the role of HSP27 on the therapeutic efficacy of curcumin remains unknown. HSP27 was silenced using small hairpin RNA (shRNA) technique. The cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of curcumin were assessed by sulforhodamine B (SRB) colorimetric assay, flow cytometric cell cycle analysis, and annexin V/propidium iodide (PI) double-labeling assays. Total reactive oxygen species (ROS)/superoxide and autophagy detection were performed, and the levels of apoptosis-related proteins were examined by Western blotting. It was found that the silencing of HSP27 (HSP27-KD) resulted in increased treatment resistance to curcumin in CRC cells. In addition, cell cycle analysis showed that the curcumin treatment caused cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase in the control group, and apoptosis was reduced in the HSP27-KD group. Curcumin treatment also resulted in a decrease in anti-apoptotic proteins, p-Akt, Akt, Bcl-2 and p-Bad, and increase in pro-apoptotic proteins Bad and c-PARP levels in the control cells but not in the HSP27-KD cells. This was also followed by low reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (ROS/RNS), superoxide and autophagy induction levels in the HSP27-KD cells as compared to the control cells. Therefore, as silencing of HSP27 increases curcumin resistance by reducing apoptosis and reactive oxidative stress production, HSP27 is a potential selective target for curcumin treatment in CRC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalLife Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2018


  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Curcumin
  • HSP27
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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