The purpose of this study is to determine if a preventive treatment with curcumin can protect intestinal epithelial cells from inflammatory damage induced by IFNγ. To achieve this goal we have used a human intestinal epithelial cell line (HT29) treated with IFNγ to undergo apoptotic changes that can reproduce the damage of intestinal epithelia exposed to inflammatory cytokines. In this model, we measured the effect of curcumin (curcuminoid from Curcuma Longa) added as a pre-treatment at different time intervals before stimulation with IFNγ. Curcumin administration to HT29 culture before the inflammatory stimulus IFNγ reduced the cell apoptosis rate. This effect gradually declined with the reduction of the curcumin pre-incubation time. This anti-apoptotic action by curcumin pre-treatment was paralleled by a reduction of secreted IL7 in the HT29 culture media, while there was no relevant change in the other cytokine levels. Even though curcumin pre-administration did not impact the activation of the NF-κB pathway, a slight effect on the phosphorylation of proteins in this inflammatory signaling pathway was observed. In conclusion, curcumin pre-treatment can protect intestinal cells from inflammatory damage. These results can be the basis for studying the preventive role of curcumin in inflammatory bowel diseases.
Keywords: apoptosis; curcumin; cytokines; epithelial cell line; intestinal inflammation.