Inflammation Research

, 58:899 | Cite as

Curcumin inhibits pro-inflammatory mediators and metalloproteinase-3 production by chondrocytes

  • M. Mathy-Hartert
  • I. Jacquemond-Collet
  • F. Priem
  • C. Sanchez
  • C. Lambert
  • Y. HenrotinEmail author
Original Research Paper


Objective and design

This study aims to investigate the effects of curcumin (Cur) on the extracellular matrix protein metabolism of articular chondrocytes and on their production of inflammatory mediators.


Human chondrocytes in alginate beads and human cartilage explants were cultured in the absence or in the presence of interleukin (IL)-1beta (10−11 M) and with or without Cur (5–20 μM). Nitric oxide (NO) synthesis was measured by the Griess spectrophotometric method; prostaglandin (PG) E2 by a specific radioimmunoassay; and IL-6, IL-8, aggrecan (Agg), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 by specific enzyme-amplified immunoassays. Proteoglycan degradation was evaluated by the release of 35S-glycosaminoglycans (GAG) from human cartilage explants.


In alginate beads and cartilage explant models, Cur inhibited the basal and the IL-1beta-stimulated NO, PGE2, IL-6, IL-8, and MMP-3 production by human chondrocytes in a concentration-dependent manner. The TIMP-1 and the Agg productions were not modified. In the basal condition, 35S-GAG release from cartilage explants was decreased by Cur.


Curcumin was a potent inhibitor of the production of inflammatory and catabolic mediators by chondrocytes, suggesting that this natural compound could be efficient in the treatment of osteoarthritis.


Curcumin Inflammation Arthritis Chondrocytes Cartilage 



The work was supported by an educational grant from BioXtract. Christelle Sanchez is a Postdoctoral Researcher of the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS, Belgium). The authors extend their appreciation to Paul Simonis and Murielle Lemestre (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège) for their skillful technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Mathy-Hartert
    • 1
  • I. Jacquemond-Collet
    • 2
  • F. Priem
    • 2
  • C. Sanchez
    • 1
  • C. Lambert
    • 1
  • Y. Henrotin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Bone and Cartilage Research UnitInstitute of Pathology, CHU Sart-TilmanLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.BioXtract, Industrial ZoningAchêneBelgium

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