Inhibition of intestinal tumors by curcumin is associated with changes in the intestinal immune cell profile

J Surg Res. 2000 Apr;89(2):169-75. doi: 10.1006/jsre.2000.5826.


Background: The C57BL/6J-Min/+ (Min/+) mouse bears a germline mutation in Apc and is therefore a model for familial adenomatous polyposis and sporadic colorectal cancer. Min/+ intestinal mucosa exhibits a marked tendency for spontaneous adenoma formation. Curcumin is a phenolic antioxidant known for its antitumor and immune modulatory functions in vitro. Curcumin prevents adenoma formation in Min/+ mice, through a mechanism that may be related to its immunomodulatory properties.

Materials and methods: To study the relationship between intestinal immunity and curcumin-induced antitumor response, we used immunohistochemistry to characterize the effect of curcumin treatment on resident intestinal immune effector cells in Min/+ mice.

Results/conclusion: These results show that mucosal CD4(+) T cells and B cells increase in animals treated with curcumin, suggesting that curcumin modulates lymphocyte-mediated immune functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Immune System / cytology*
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Intestines / drug effects*
  • Lymphocyte Count / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains / genetics


  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Curcumin