Curcumin potentiates the anti-arthritic effect of prednisolone in Freund's complete adjuvant-induced arthritic rats

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2014 Jan;66(1):133-44. doi: 10.1111/jphp.12156. Epub 2013 Oct 21.


Objectives: The present study was aimed at investigating the effect of curcumin in combination with prednisolone for the effective treatment of arthritis with reduced side effects when glucocorticoids therapy is indicated.

Methods: Arthritis was induced in wistar rats by subplantar injection of Freund's complete adjuvant, and animals were observed for the symptoms of arthritis during the period of 21 days. Combined treatment of curcumin with various doses of prednisolone (1.25, 2.5 and 5 mg/kg) was evaluated in order to ascertain the efficacy and toxicity induced by steroid.

Key findings: Arthritic animals showed significant increase in tumour necrosis factor-α and IL-1β levels in paw tissue and IL-1β in serum. Combined therapy of curcumin with low doses of prednisolone showed pronounced beneficial effect on joint swelling, leucocyte count and biochemical parameters compared with prednisolone groups. Among the different doses used in the study, prednisolone at 1.25 mg/kg in combination with curcumin showed beneficial anti-arthritic activity and also reduced the steroid toxicity. This is evidenced by increase in body weight, low toxicity to immune organs, reduction in leucocyte count, increase in spleen anti-oxidant enzymes and potent inhibition of cytokines in combination group.

Conclusion: Therefore, combined treatment of curcumin with low doses of prednisolone may find therapeutic use in arthritis.

Keywords: FCA-induced arthritis; curcumin; cytokines; oxidative stress; prednisolone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Freund's Adjuvant / adverse effects*
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Steroids / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Drug Combinations
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Plant Extracts
  • Steroids
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Freund's Adjuvant
  • Prednisolone
  • Curcumin