Scientific evidence and rationale for the development of curcumin and resveratrol as nutraceutricals for joint health

Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(4):4202-4232. doi: 10.3390/ijms13044202. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) are key cytokines that drive the production of inflammatory mediators and matrix-degrading enzymes in osteoarthritis (OA). These proinflammatory cytokines bind to their respective cell surface receptors and activate inflammatory signaling pathways culminating with the activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), a transcription factor that can be triggered by a host of stress-related stimuli including, excessive mechanical stress and ECM degradation products. Once activated, NF-κB regulates the expression of many cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, inflammatory mediators, and several matrix-degrading enzymes. Therefore, proinflammatory cytokines, their cell surface receptors, NF-κB and downstream signaling pathways are therapeutic targets in OA. This paper critically reviews the recent literature and outlines the potential prophylactic properties of plant-derived phytochemicals such as curcumin and resveratrol for targeting NF-κB signaling and inflammation in OA to determine whether these phytochemicals can be used as functional foods.

Keywords: OA; RA; articular cartilage; curcumin; functional food; osteoarthritis; phytochemical; resveratrol; rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiology
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Interleukin-1beta / immunology
  • Joints / pathology*
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use*
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • IL1B protein, human
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Phytochemicals
  • RELA protein, human
  • Stilbenes
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol