Curcumin protects mice from coxsackievirus B3-induced myocarditis by inhibiting the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase/Akt/nuclear factor-κB pathway

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Nov;18(6):560-9. doi: 10.1177/1074248413503044. Epub 2013 Sep 19.


Viral myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardium, and coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) is one of the most important etiologic agents. Curcumin is an active ingredient of Curcumin longa, which has been used as a traditional Chinese herb for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases. The aim of this study was to explore the therapeutic effect of curcumin on CVB3-induced myocarditis and the underlying mechanism. Our results showed that treatment with curcumin could significantly attenuate CVB3-induced myocarditis, as demonstrated by improved weight loss, increased survival rate, reduced serological level cardiac enzymes, and improved heart histopathology. Of importance, curcumin administration was revealed to significantly reduce the systemic and local myocardial expression of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL) 6, and IL-1β, in the CVB3-infected mice. Further study showed that curcumin treatment significantly inhibited the CVB3-induced activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a key transcription factor in the pathogenesis of inflammation, in a phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway-dependent manner. These data indicate that curcumin has protective effect against CVB3-induced myocarditis by inhibiting PI3K/Akt/NF-κB signaling pathway and thus reducing the inflammatory response.

Keywords: NF-κB; PI3K/Akt; coxsackievirus; curcumin; myocarditis; proinflammatory cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coxsackievirus Infections / virology
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Inflammation / virology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Myocarditis / prevention & control*
  • Myocarditis / virology
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Curcumin