Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 19–35 | Cite as

“Spicing Up” of the Immune System by Curcumin

  • Ganesh Chandra Jagetia
  • Bharat B. AggarwalEmail author

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is an orange-yellow component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a spice often found in curry powder. Traditionally known for its an antiinflammatory effects, curcumin has been shown in the last two decades to be a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells. Curcumin can also downregulate the expression of various proinflammatory cytokines including TNF, IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, and chemokines, most likely through inactivation of the transcription factor NF-κB. Interestingly, however, curcumin at low doses can also enhance antibody responses. This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer might be due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system. Together, these findings warrant further consideration of curcumin as a therapy for immune disorders.


Curcumin tumor necrosis factor nuclear factor-κB interleukins chemokines immunomodulation 



We would like to thank Walter Pagel for carefully proofreading the manuscript and providing valuable comments. Dr. Aggarwal is a Ransom Horne, Jr., Professor of Cancer Research. This work was supported by a grant from the Clayton Foundation for Research (to B. B. A.), National Institutes of Health PO1 grant CA91844 on lung chemoprevention (to B. B. A.), National Institutes of Health P50 Head and Neck SPORE grant P50CA97007 (to B. B. A); and a core grant (CA16672).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cytokine Research LaboratoryDepartment of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Experimental TherapeuticsUnit 143, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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