Novel curcumin analog (cis-trans curcumin) as ligand to adenosine receptors A2A and A2B: potential for therapeutics

Luke J. Hamilton, Michaela Walker, Mahesh Pattabiraman, Haizhen A. Zhong, Brandon Luedtke, Surabhi Chandra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


All four of the adenosine receptor (AR) subtypes mediate pain and have been targeted by pharmacologists to generate new therapeutics for chronic pain. The vanilloid phytochemicals, which include curcumin, capsaicin, and gingerol, have been shown to alleviate pain. However, there is little to no literature on the interaction of vanilloid phytochemicals with ARs. In this study, photochemical methods were used to generate a novel isomer of curcumin (cis-trans curcumin or CTCUR), and the interactions of both curcumin and CTCUR with the two Gs-linked AR subtypes were studied. Competitive binding assays, docking analysis, and confocal fluorescence microscopy were performed to measure binding affinity; cell survival assays were used to measure toxicity; and cAMP assays were performed to measure receptor activation. Competitive binding results indicated that CTCUR binds to both AR A2A and AR A2B with Ki values of 5 μM and 7 μM, respectively, which is consistent with our docking results. Fluorescence microscopy data also shows binding for A2B and A2A. Cell survival results show that CTCUR and CUR are nontoxic at the tested concentrations in these cell lines. Overall, our results suggest that vanilloid phytochemicals may be slightly modified to increase interaction with Gs-ARs, and thereby can be further explored to provide a novel class of non-opioid antinociceptives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105410
JournalPharmacological Research
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • 5'-N-Ethylcarboxamidoadenosine (PubChem CID: 4400)
  • Adenosine
  • Adenosine receptor A
  • Adenosine receptor A
  • Chronic pain
  • Cis-Trans curcumin (PubChem CID: 969516)
  • Curcumin
  • Curcumin (PubChem CID: 969516)
  • G

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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