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J Cancer Prev. 2018 Mar;23(1):18-24. doi: 10.15430/JCP.2018.23.1.18. Epub 2018 Mar 30.

Comparative Effects of Curcumin and Tetrahydrocurcumin on Dextran Sulfate Sodium-induced Colitis and Inflammatory Signaling in Mice.

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Tumor Microenvironment Global Core Research Center, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Functional Food and Biotechnology, College of Medical Science, Jeonju University, Jeonju, Korea.
Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, College of Knowledge-based Services Engineering, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, Korea.



Curcumin, a yellow ingredient of turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn, Zingiberaceae), has long been used in traditional folk medicine in the management of inflammatory disorders. Although curcumin has been reported to inhibit experimentally-induced colitis and carcinogenesis, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unresolved.


Murine colitis was induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) which mimics inflammatory bowel disease. Curcumin or tetrahydrocurcumin was given orally (0.1 or 0.25 mmol/kg body weight daily) for 7 days before and together with DSS administration (3% in tap water). Collected colon tissue was used for histologic and biochemical analyses.


Administration of curcumin significantly attenuated the severity of DSS-induced colitis and the activation of NF-κB and STAT3 as well as expression of COX-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase. In contrast to curcumin, its non-electrophilic analogue, tetrahydrocurcumin has much weaker inhibitory effects.


Intragastric administration of curcumin inhibited the experimentally induced murine colitis, which was associated with inhibition of pro-inflammatory signaling mediated by NF-κB and STAT3.


Curcumin; Dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis; NF-κB; STAT3; Tetrahydrocurcumin

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST No potential conflicts of interest were disclosed.

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