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Toward the Noninvasive Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease: Molecular Basis for the Specificity of Curcumin for Fibrillar Amyloid-β

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Beenish Khurshid
  • Ashfaq Ur Rehman
  • Shabbir Muhammad
  • Abdul Wadood
  • Jamshed Anwar
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>ACS Omega
Issue number25
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)22032-22038
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date13/06/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Recent studies show that curcumin, a naturally fluorescent dye, can be used for the noninvasive optical imaging of retinal amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques. We investigated the molecular basis for curcumin’s specificity for hierarchical Aβ structures using molecular dynamics simulations, with a focus on how curcumin is able to detect and discriminate different amyloid morphologies. Curcumin inhibits and breaks up β-sheet formation in Aβ monomers. With disordered Aβ structures, curcumin forms a coarse-grained composite structure. With an ordered fibril, curcumin’s interaction is highly specific, and the curcumin molecules are deposited in the fibril groove. Curcumin tends to self-aggregate, which is finely balanced with its affinity for Aβ. This tendency concentrates curcumin molecules at Aβ deposition sites, potentially increasing the fluorescence signal. This is probably why curcumin is such an effective amyloid imaging agent.