Curcumin inhibits osteoclastogenesis by decreasing receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) in bone marrow stromal cells

Mol Cells. 2008 Nov 30;26(5):486-9.


Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a pigment derived from turmeric, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Accumulating evidence points to a biochemical link between increased oxidative stress and reduced bone density. Osteoclast formation was evaluated in co-cultures of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) and whole bone marrow cells (BMC). Expression of receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) was analyzed at the mRNA and protein levels. Exposure to curcumin led to dose-dependent suppression of osteoclastogenesis in the coculture system, and to reduced expression of RANKL in IL-1alpha-stimulated BMSCs. Addition of RANKL abolished the inhibition of osteoclastogenesis by curcumin, whereas the addition of prostaglandin E2(PGE2) did not. The decreased osteoclastogenesis induced by curcumin may reduce bone loss and be of potential benefit in preventing and/or attenuating osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Interleukin-1alpha / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteoclasts / cytology*
  • Osteoclasts / drug effects*
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • RANK Ligand / genetics
  • RANK Ligand / metabolism*
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / drug effects
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-1alpha
  • RANK Ligand
  • Curcumin