Effects of curcumin on proinflammatory cytokines and tissue injury in the early and late phases of experimental acute pancreatitis

Pancreatology. 2013 Jul-Aug;13(4):347-54. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 May 21.


Background & aims: Acute pancreatitis (AP) varies from mild to severe necrotizing changes with high mortality. The objective of the current study was to investigate the effects of curcumin on tissue injury and proinflammatory cytokines in the early and late phases of AP.

Methods: AP was induced by sodium taurocholate in rats (n = 140). First group was left untreated. Group II received 100 mg/kg curcumin daily starting 20 days before AP induction. The rats were allocated into 7 sub-groups (n:5) and were sacrificed at 2, 6, 12, 24, 72, 144 and 288 h following the induction of AP. Blood and pancreatic tissue samples were collected for biochemical and histopathologic evaluations and the assessment of protein and mRNA levels, as well.

Results: Curcumin decreased total histopathologic scores in comparison with those of the taurocholate group (P < 0.05). Curcumin increased Caspase-3 activity and decreased trypsin activity, while inhibited nuclear factor-κ (NF-κB) at all time points (P < 0.05) and moreover reduced activator protein-1 (AP-1). Curcumin decreased chemokine (except for 288 h), TNF-α (except for 2 and 24 h), IL-6 (except for 2, 6 and 288 h) and iNOS (except for 144 and 288 h) mRNA levels (P < 0.05). Curcumin serum nitric oxide (NO) (except for 144 and 288 h) levels were reduced, as well.

Conclusions: In conclusion, curcumin reduced tissue injury, trypsin activation and inhibited NF-κB and AP-1. However TNF-α, IL-6 and iNOS and NO were not inhibited at all time points. Therefore no direct correlation was detected in the subgroups between tissue injury, proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative enzymes.

Keywords: Acute pancreatitis; Curcumin; Proinflammatory cytokine; Rat; Tissue injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / drug effects*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Male
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / chemically induced
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / pathology*
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / prevention & control
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Taurocholic Acid
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Trypsin / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Taurocholic Acid
  • Trypsin
  • Curcumin