Curcumin attenuates inflammation through inhibition of TLR-4 receptor in experimental colitis


Curcumin, an active ingredient of Curcumin longa mediates its anti-inflammatory effects through inhibition of NFkB. Several pathways including toll-like receptors (TLR) induce NFkB leading to inflammation. In this study, we investigated the effects of curcumin on the expression of TLR-4 and MyD88, the upstream signaling pathway in experimental colitis induced in the Sprague-Dawley male rats by intra-rectal administration of trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS). The animals which received TNBS were divided into two groups: Group 1, received aqueous suspension of curcumin (100 mg/Kg body weight) 2 h prior to inducing colitis, and the treatment was repeated every day for 5 days, and Group 2 and non-colitis (Group 3) animals received phosphate buffered saline (PBS) in a similar fashion. Non-colitis animals (Group 4) received curcumin and served as controls. Animals were sacrificed on day 5 post-TNBS by cervical dislocation, colon was taken out, and cleaned with PBS. Levels of TLR-4, MyD88, and NFkB proteins were measured using ECL Western blot analysis, and TLR-4 mRNA by a competitive RT-PCR method. Colitis was confirmed histologically by measuring myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in the colonic tissues. TNBS-induced increase in the level of MPO activity and MDA concentrations was reversed by curcumin treatment, whereas the same dose of curcumin did not affect their levels in the non-colitis animals. Increases in the levels of TLR-4, MyD88, and NFkB proteins in inflamed tissue were also suppressed significantly by curcumin treatment. The level of TLR-4 mRNA remained unchanged in the colitis animals. These findings demonstrate that signaling pathway of curcumin-induced inhibition of inflammation involves TLR-4 and MyD88, and therefore may serve as an important therapeutic target in IBD.

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Financial support from the Kuwait University Research Administration through a graduate student research grant # MY06/06, and Miss Amna Al-Shamali for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to I. Khan.

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Lubbad, A., Oriowo, M.A. & Khan, I. Curcumin attenuates inflammation through inhibition of TLR-4 receptor in experimental colitis. Mol Cell Biochem 322, 127–135 (2009).

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  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Toll-like receptor
  • MPO
  • MDA
  • MyD88
  • NFkB
  • Colitis