Curcumin protects against collagen-induced arthritis via suppression of BAFF production

J Clin Immunol. 2013 Apr;33(3):550-7. doi: 10.1007/s10875-012-9839-0. Epub 2012 Nov 27.


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the anti-Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) effect of curcumin is associated with the regulation of B cell-activating factor belonging to the TNF family (BAFF) production.

Methods: Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) was induced in DBA/1 J mice by immunization with bovine type II collagen. To investigate the anti-arthritic effect of curcumin in the CIA model, mice were injected intraperitoneally with curcumin (50 mg/kg) on every other day either from day 1 or from day 28 after the first immunization. The clinical severity of arthritis was monitored. BAFF, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interferon-γ (IFNγ) production in serum were measured. Furthermore, the effect of curcumin on IFNγ-induced BAFF expression and transcriptional activation in B lymphocytes was determined by qPCR, Western Blot, and luciferase assay. Finally, IFNγ related signal transducers and activators of transcription 1 (STAT1) signaling in B lymphocytes were studied using Western Blot.

Results: Curcumin dramatically attenuated the progression and severity of CIA in DBA/1 J mice, accompanied with decrease of BAFF production in serum and spleen cells as well as decrease of serum IFNγ and IL-6. Treatment of B lymphocytes with curcumin suppressed IFNγ-induced BAFF expression, STAT1 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation, suggesting that curcumin may repress IFNγ-induced BAFF expression via negatively interfering with STAT1 signaling.

Conclusion: The results of the present study suggest that suppression of BAFF production may be a novel mechanism by which curcumin improves RA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / genetics
  • Arthritis, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / prevention & control
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / genetics
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Transport
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Interleukin-6
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Curcumin