Curcumin as an anti-inflammatory medicine: effects on PGE2 and IL-6 in LPS stimulated canine whole blood
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Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs commonly consists of modification of the diet and immunomodulation by means of prednisolone or metronidazole. Unfortunately, these therapeutics have their drawbacks and negative side-effects and their effect has not always been proven. A more natural and safe alternative might be curcumin, a major constituent of curry powder, prepared from the roots of Curcuma longa. Various preclinical and clinical studies show that curcumin might help in all sorts of chronic diseases, including neoplastic, neurological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic and psychological diseases. An experiment was set up to test the possible attenuating effects of curcumin in dogs with IBD. Canine whole blood was triggered to inflammation by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the presence of various concentrations of curcumin (1nM, 10 nM, 100 nM, 1 μM, 10 μM). Besides standard curcumin, Meriva® was tested, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex that has been shown to be absorbed better. After 24 hours of incubation with LPS and curcumin or Meriva®, the pro-inflammatory mediators prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and interleukine 6 (IL-6) were measured. The results showed that curcumin and Meriva® in a 10 μM concentration can attenuate inflammation by decreasing PGE2 production, as demonstrated in a model of whole canine blood stimulated with LPS. IL-6 levels seemed not to be influenced by curcumin or Meriva®. Considering the small sample size of our study and the intrinsic biological variation in our model, it should however be noted that no firm conclusions can be drawn from our results. Former research is ambiguous about the effect of curcumin on both PGE2 and IL-6, but curcumin has shown to be a promising cure for several diseases and ailments. There is strong suggestion that human IBD is one of the diseases that might be alleviated by curcumin, and hopefully this goes for canine IBD as well. Our experiment was set up as a small step towards a possible clinical trial testing the effects of curcumin on canine IBD. Future research will hopefully facilitate the use of this age-old medicine in the veterinary clinic.