Curcumin has been shown to possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic effects, most likely through down-regulation of COX-2, TNF, and other inflammatory cytokines. Deodhar et al. were the first to report on the antirheumatic activity of curcumin in human subjects . They performed a short-term double-blind cross-over study in 18 patients with rheumatoid arthritis to compare the antirheumatic activity of curcumin (1200mg/day) with that of phenylbutazone (300mg/day). Subjective and objective assessment in patients who were taking corticosteroids just prior to the study showed significant improvements in morning stiffness, walking time, and joint swelling following 2 weeks of curcumin therapy.
Liacini et al. examined the effects of curcumin in articular chondrocytes. Inter-leukin (IL)-1, the main cytokine instigator of cartilage degeneration in arthritis, induces MMP-3 and MMP-13 RNA and protein in chondrocytes through activation of MAPK, AP-1, and NF-kB transcription factors . Curcumin achieved 48-99% suppression of MMP-3 and 45-97% suppression of MMP-13 in human chondrocytes and 8-100% (MMP-3) and 32-100% (MMP-13) suppression in bovine chondrocytes. Inhibition of IL-1 signal transduction by these agents could be useful for reducing cartilage resorption by MMPs in arthritis.
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