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Biopharm Drug Dispos. 2018 Jun;39(6):289-297. doi: 10.1002/bdd.2136.

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Curcumin in regulating anti-inflammatory and epigenetic gene expression.

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Department of Pharmaceutics, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 160 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


Chronic inflammation is a key driver of cancer development. Nitrite levels, which are regulated by inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), play a critical role in inflammation. While the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, a natural product present in the roots of Curcuma longa have been studied widely, the acute pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of curcumin in suppressing pro-inflammatory markers and epigenetic modulators remain unclear. This study evaluated the PK and PD of curcumin-induced suppression of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated inflammation in rat lymphocytes. LPS was administered intravenously either alone or with curcumin to female Sprague-Dawley rats. Plasma samples were analysed for curcumin concentration and mRNA expression was quantified in lymphocytes. The relative gene expression of several inflammatory and epigenetic modulators was analysed. To investigate the relationship between curcumin concentration and iNOS, TNF-α, and IL-6 gene expression, PK/PD modeling using Jusko's indirect response model (IDR) integrating transit compartments (TC) describing the delayed response was conducted. The concentration-time profile of curcumin exhibited a bi-exponential decline, which was well described by a two-compartmental pharmacokinetic model. Importantly the results demonstrate that LPS induced gene expression of pro-inflammatory markers in lymphocytes, with peak expression at approximately 3 h and curcumin suppressed the gene expression in animals administered with LPS. These effects were well captured using the IDR model and an IDR model with the transit compartments. In summary, the PK/PD modeling approach could potentially provide a robust quantitative framework for evaluating the acute anti-inflammatory and epigenetic effects of curcumin in future clinical trials.


PKPD modeling; curcumin; epigenetic modulation; indirect response model; inflammation

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