Background: The management of osteoarthritis (OA) remains a challenge. There is a need not only for safe and efficient treatments but also for accurate and reliable biomarkers that would help diagnosis and monitoring both disease activity and treatment efficacy. Curcumin is basically a spice that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In vitro studies suggest that curcumin could be beneficial for cartilage in OA. The aim of this exploratory, non-controlled clinical trial was to evaluate the effects of bio-optimized curcumin in knee OA patients on the serum levels of specific biomarkers of OA and on the evaluation of pain.
Methods: Twenty two patients with knee OA were asked to take 2x3 caps/day of bio-optimized curcumin (Flexofytol®) for 3 months. They were monitored after 7, 14, 28 and 84 days of treatment. Pain over the last 24 hours and global assessment of disease activity by the patient were evaluated using a visual analog scale (100 mm). The serum levels of Coll-2-1, Coll-2-1NO2, Fib3-1, Fib3-2, CRP, CTX-II and MPO were determined before and after 14 and 84 days of treatment.
Results: The treatment with curcumin was globally well tolerated. It significantly reduced the serum level of Coll2-1 (p<0.002) and tended to decrease CRP. No other significant difference was observed with the other biomarkers. In addition, curcumin significantly reduced the global assessment of disease activity by the patient.
Conclusion: This study highlighted the potential effect of curcumin in knee OA patient. This effect was reflected by the variation of a cartilage specific biomarker, Coll2-1 that was rapidly affected by the treatment. These results are encouraging for the qualification of Coll2-1 as a biomarker for the evaluation of curcumin in OA treatment.
Trial registration: NCT01909037 at clinicaltrials.gov.