Decrease of a specific biomarker of collagen degradation in osteoarthritis, Coll2-1, by treatment with highly bioavailable curcumin during an exploratory clinical trial

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 May 17;14:159. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-159.


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

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Collagen / blood*
  • Collagen Type I / urine
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peptides / urine
  • Peroxidase / blood
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen Type I
  • EFEMP1 protein, human
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Peptides
  • collagen type I trimeric cross-linked peptide
  • Collagen
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Peroxidase
  • Curcumin

Associated data