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Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2018 Dec;40(6):476-482. doi: 10.1080/08923973.2018.1469145. Epub 2018 Aug 15.

Curcumin as a therapeutic agent for blocking NF-κB activation in ulcerative colitis.

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a Department of Gastroenterology , Yancheng First Peoples' Hospital , Yancheng , Jiangsu , China.
b Department of Nursing , Yancheng First Peoples' Hospital , Yancheng , Jiangsu , China.
c Department of Nursing , Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Nanjing , Jiangsu , China.
d Department of Oncology , Jiangsu Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Nanjing , Jiangsu , China.


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic, relapsing, remitting, and inflammatory disorder that afflicts millions of people around the world. It carries a substantial economic burden, reducing the quality of life, ability to work, and increasing disability. Conventional medical treatment of UC includes the use of aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive drugs. However, these medicines are not always effective due to some serious side effects. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) is a key factor in the inflammatory setting and strongly affects the course of mucosal inflammation in UC. This review aims to describe the complex role of NF-κB in UC and discuss existing pharmacological attempts by curcumin for blocking NF-κB activation to develop new therapeutic strategies in UC. Several studies have shown intriguing pharmacologic effects associated with curcumin, which inhibits NF-κB expression by regulating NF-κB/IkB pathway and down-regulation expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as Interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. The efficacy of curcumin has been confirmed in several experimental models of UC. Furthermore, curcumin significantly induced clinical remission in active mild-to-moderate UC patients and reduced clinical relapse in quiescent UC patients. The inhibitory effects of curcumin on NF-κB and its unrivaled safety profile indicate that it remains effective for the treatment of UC. In addition, curcumin is a nontoxic, inexpensive, and easily available natural polyphenol. In conclusion, curcumin can be used as a potential and safe drug in the management of patients with remission and mild-to-moderate UC.


Curcumin; inflammation; nuclear factor-kappa B; ulcerative colitis

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