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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Sep;57(9):1550-6. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200791. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Targeted delivery of curcumin for treating type 2 diabetes.

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Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine, University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which cells have reduced insulin signalling, leading to hyperglycemia and long-term complications, including heart, kidney and liver disease. Macrophages activated by dying or stressed cells, induce the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa-B leading to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF and IL-6. These inflammatory macrophages in liver and adipose tissue promote insulin resistance, and medications which reduce inflammation and enhance insulin signalling improve glucose control. Curcumin is an anti-oxidant and nuclear factor kappa-B inhibitor derived from turmeric. A number of studies have shown that dietary curcumin reduces inflammation and delays or prevents obesity-induced insulin resistance and associated complications, including atherosclerosis and immune mediate liver disease. Unfortunately dietary curcumin is poorly absorbed by the digestive system and undergoes glucuronidation and excretion rather than being released into the serum and systemically distributed. This confounds understanding of how dietary curcumin exerts its beneficial effects in type 2 diabetes and associated diseases. New improved methods of delivering curcumin are being developed including nanoparticles and lipid/liposome formulations that increase absorption and bioavailability of curcumin. Development and refinement of these technologies will enable cell-directed targeting of curcumin and improved therapeutic outcome.


Curcumin; Liposomes; Macrophages; NF-κB; Type 2 diabetes

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