Curcumin, a commonly available spice and alternative medicine, has been tested in the laboratory and the clinic for activity against a wide range of diseases. It is thought to possess antiinflammatory and antioxidant activities and may also function to inhibit histone acetyl transferases, which activate gene expression via chromatin remodeling. Two reports in this issue of the JCI, by Morimoto et al. and Li et al., suggest that curcumin may inhibit cardiac hypertrophy in rodent models and provide beneficial effects after myocardial infarction or in the setting of hypertension (see the related articles beginning on pages 868 and 879, respectively). These results will spur further mechanistic inquiry into the role of chromatin remodeling in the regulation of cardiac homeostasis.
Jonathan A. Epstein