Researchers explore anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin

January 17, 2018, Vanderbilt University
Researchers explore anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin
Credit: iStock

Extracts of the plant turmeric—the spice that gives Indian curries a yellow color—have been used as an anti-inflammatory treatment in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. Clinical trials of curcumin (the active chemical compound in turmeric), however, have produced mixed results. A molecular understanding of curcumin's biological effects is needed.

Claus Schneider, Ph.D., and colleagues have now discovered that is a "pro-drug" that is converted into reactive metabolites with anti-inflammatory activities. The metabolites of curcumin, produced by , covalently bind to and inhibit proteins in the inflammatory NF-kappa-B signaling pathway.

The researchers found that curcumin undergoes oxidation reactions readily in vitro. They suggest that insufficient bioactivation in vivo may explain the mixed results in human studies of curcumin activity.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, suggest that metabolic bioactivation should be considered in of curcumin and other dietary polyphenols of medicinal interest, such as resveratrol (red wine), quercetin (onions) and epigallocatechin gallate (green tea).

Explore further: Contrary to decades of hype, curcumin alone is unlikely to boost health

More information: Rebecca L. Edwards et al. The anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is mediated by its oxidative metabolites, Journal of Biological Chemistry (2017). DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.000123

Related Stories

Curcumin may help overcome drug-resistant tuberculosis

March 24, 2016

New research indicates that curcumin—a substance in turmeric that is best known as one of the main components of curry powder—may help fight drug-resistant tuberculosis. In Asia, turmeric is used to treat many health ...

Topical curcumin gel effective in treating burns and scalds

March 14, 2017

What is the effect of Topical Curcumin Gel for treating burns and scalds? In a recent research paper, published in the open access journal BioDiscovery, Dr. Madalene Heng, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the David Geffen ...

Recommended for you

From receptor structure to new osteoporosis drugs

November 20, 2018

Researchers at the University of Zurich have determined the three-dimensional structure of a receptor that controls the release of calcium from bones. The receptor is now one of the main candidates for developing new drugs ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.