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Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(2):226-32.

Curcumin attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced renal inflammation.

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Department of Nephrology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, PR China.


Renal inflammation is the main pathological change in many acute and chronic kidney diseases. Curcumin, a yellow pigment present in the rhizome of turmeric (Curcuma longa L. Zingiberaceae), was found to be a potential anti-inflammatory agent. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of curcumin on the inflammation of mice kidney and cultured renal tubular epithelial cells (HK-2 cells) induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and to explore the mechanism. Curcumin was injected intraperitoneally before LPS administration. Renal inflammation was assessed by evaluating monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) expression and macrophage infiltration in renal tissue using immunohistochemical methods, and also by measuring renal MCP-1 mRNA level using Real-Time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). HK-2 cells were cultured to investigate the in vitro effect of curcumin against LPS-induced renal inflammation. The expression of MCP-1 and interleukin-8 (IL-8) mRNA was measured by Real-Time PCR. The expression of MCP-1 and IL-8 protein in supernatant was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The activity of nuclear factor (NF)-κB was detected by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). The results demonstrated that curcumin could inhibit LPS-induced renal MCP-1 mRNA expression. Curcumin also significantly inhibited the expression of MCP-1 and IL-2 mRNA in HK-2 cells, and partially inhibited the secretion of MCP-1 and IL-8. Furthermore, curcumin was found to inhibit the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB. The present study demonstrated that curcumin has a protective effect on LPS-induced experimental renal inflammation, and this effect might be attributed to its inhibitory effects on MCP-1 mRNA expression and DNA-binding activity of NF-κB. Hence, curcumin might be potentially useful in some kidney diseases by preventing renal inflammation.

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