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Int Wound J. 2018 Aug;15(4):605-617. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12904. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

Curcumin accelerates cutaneous wound healing via multiple biological actions: The involvement of TNF-α, MMP-9, α-SMA, and collagen.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
Department of Tourism and Leisure Management, Yuanpei University of Medical Technology, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Lipid Science and Aging Research Center, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Departments of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Curcumin, a constituent of the turmeric plant, has antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative effects, but its effects on wound healing are unclear. We created back wounds in 72 mice and treated them with or without topical curcumin (0.2 mg/mL) in Pluronic F127 gel (20%) daily for 3, 5, 7, 9, and 12 days. Healing in wounds was evaluated from gross appearance, microscopically by haematoxylin and eosin staining, by immunohistochemistry for tumour necrosis factor alpha and alpha smooth muscle actin, and by polymerase chain reaction amplification of mRNA expression levels. Treatment caused fast wound closure with well-formed granulation tissue dominated by collagen deposition and regenerating epithelium. Curcumin increased the levels of tumour necrosis factor alpha mRNA and protein in the early phase of healing, which then decreased significantly. However, these levels remained high in controls. Levels of collagen were significantly higher in curcumin-treated wounds. Immunohistochemical staining for alpha smooth muscle actin was increased in curcumin-treated mice on days 7 and 12. Curcumin treatment significantly suppressed matrix metallopeptidase-9 and stimulated alpha smooth muscle levels in tumour necrosis factor alpha-treated fibroblasts via nuclear factor kappa B signalling. Thus, topical curcumin accelerated wound healing in mice by regulating the levels of various cytokines.


MMP-9; TNF-α; curcumin; inflammation; wound healing

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