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Biochem Pharmacol. 2010 Feb 1;79(3):421-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2009.08.030. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

Synergistic anti-inflammatory effects of low doses of curcumin in combination with polyunsaturated fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid or eicosapentaenoic acid.

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Center for Cancer Prevention Research, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


Inflammatory response plays an important role not only in the normal physiology but also in the pathology such as cancers. As chronic inflammations are associated with malignancies, it is important to prevent inflammation-mediated neoplastic formation, promotion and/or progression. One possible intervention will be using cancer chemopreventive agents such as curcumin (CUR), a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress compound. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are potent anti-inflammatory agents by decreasing the production of inflammatory eicosanoids, cytokines, and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The present study aims at examining whether CUR with DHA or EPA would have synergistic anti-inflammatory effects in RAW 264.7 cells. Non-toxic concentrations of single and combination of the compounds were investigated at 6, 12 and 24h. The nitric oxide (NO) suppression effects were most prominent at 24h. All the combinations of CUR and DHA or EPA with lower concentrations of CUR 5 microM and 25 microM of DHA or EPA were found to have synergistic effects in suppressing LPS-stimulated NO and endogenous NO levels. Importantly, very low doses of CUR 2.5 microM and DHA or EPA of 0.78 microM could synergistically suppress the LPS-induced prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)). The combinations were also found to suppress iNOS, COX-2, 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and cPLA(2) but induce HO-1. Taken together, the present study clearly shows the synergistic anti-inflammatory as well as anti-oxidative stress effects of CUR and PUFA.

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