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Curcumin improves treatment outcome of Takayasu arteritis patients by reducing TNF-α: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors have been found to exhibit certain efficacy in treating refractory Takayasu arteritis (TA) in clinic despite severe adverse effects. The aim of this study is to investigate a natural anti-TNF compound, curcumin, its function, and its potential as treatment against TA. In total, 246 patients who were diagnosed of acute TA participated have completed this clinical trial. They were randomly assigned in either treatment group or control group, in which they were daily administered with curcumin or placebo accordingly for 4 weeks with weekly revisits for data collection. The treatment outcome consisted of a primary one defined using Birmingham Vascular Activity Score (BVAS) and a secondary one defined by laboratory results, e.g., C-reactive protein (CRP), TNF-α, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). In this study, the primary and secondary treatment outcomes were found to be steadily attenuated in patients who received curcumin treatment, while showed no significant change in patients in placebo group. TNF-α was found to be significantly correlated with BVAS scores (γ 2 = 0.81, p = 0.016), ESR (γ 2 = 0.76, p = 0.037), and plasma levels of CRP (γ 2 = 0.79, p = 0.041). The treatment outcome was greatly improved by curcumin administration probably due to its anti-TNF property.

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Correspondence to Jingying Li.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Shao, N., Jia, H., Li, Y. et al. Curcumin improves treatment outcome of Takayasu arteritis patients by reducing TNF-α: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trial. Immunol Res 65, 969–974 (2017).

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  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Curcumin
  • Tumor necrosis factor
  • C-reactive protein
  • Birmingham Vascular Activity Score