A polymeric nanoparticle formulation of curcumin (NanoCurc™) ameliorates CCl4-induced hepatic injury and fibrosis through reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines and stellate cell activation

Lab Invest. 2011 Sep;91(9):1383-95. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2011.86. Epub 2011 Jun 20.


Plant-derived polyphenols such as curcumin hold promise as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of chronic liver diseases. However, its development is plagued by poor aqueous solubility resulting in poor bioavailability. To circumvent the suboptimal bioavailability of free curcumin, we have developed a polymeric nanoparticle formulation of curcumin (NanoCurc™) that overcomes this major pitfall of the free compound. In this study, we show that NanoCurc™ results in sustained intrahepatic curcumin levels that can be found in both hepatocytes and non-parenchymal cells. NanoCurc™ markedly inhibits carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury, production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and fibrosis. It also enhances antioxidant levels in the liver and inhibits pro-fibrogenic transcripts associated with activated myofibroblasts. Finally, we show that NanoCurc™ directly induces stellate cell apoptosis in vitro. Our results suggest that NanoCurc™ might be an effective therapy for patients with chronic liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / metabolism
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Curcumin / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / toxicity
  • Inflammation Mediators / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Curcumin

Grant support