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Curcuma oil attenuates accelerated atherosclerosis and macrophage foam-cell formation by modulating genes involved in plaque stability, lipid homeostasis and inflammation

  • Vishal Singh (a1), Minakshi Rana (a1), Manish Jain (a1), Niharika Singh (a1), Arshi Naqvi (a2), Richa Malasoni (a2), Anil Kumar Dwivedi (a2), Madhu Dikshit (a1) and Manoj Kumar Barthwal (a1)...


In the present study, the anti-atherosclerotic effect and the underlying mechanism of curcuma oil (C. oil), a lipophilic fraction from turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), was evaluated in a hamster model of accelerated atherosclerosis and in THP-1 macrophages. Male golden Syrian hamsters were subjected to partial carotid ligation (PCL) or FeCl3-induced arterial oxidative injury (Ox-injury) after 1 week of treatment with a high-cholesterol (HC) diet or HC diet plus C. oil (100 and 300 mg/kg, orally). Hamsters fed with the HC diet were analysed at 1, 3 and 5 weeks following carotid injury. The HC diet plus C. oil-fed group was analysed at 5 weeks. In hyperlipidaemic hamsters with PCL or Ox-injury, C. oil (300 mg/kg) reduced elevated plasma and aortic lipid levels, arterial macrophage accumulation, and stenosis when compared with those subjected to arterial injury alone. Similarly, elevated mRNA transcripts of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, cluster of differentiation 45 (CD45), TNF-α, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-1β and IL-6 were reduced in atherosclerotic arteries, while those of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and IL-10 were increased after the C. oil treatment (300 mg/kg). The treatment with C. oil prevented HC diet- and oxidised LDL (OxLDL)-induced lipid accumulation, decreased the mRNA expression of CD68 and CD36, and increased the mRNA expression of PPARα, LXRα, ABCA1 and ABCG1 in both hyperlipidaemic hamster-derived peritoneal and THP-1 macrophages. The administration of C. oil suppressed the mRNA expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IFN-γ and increased the expression of TGF-β in peritoneal macrophages. In THP-1 macrophages, C. oil supplementation prevented OxLDL-induced production of TNF-α and IL-1β and increased the levels of TGF-β. The present study shows that C. oil attenuates arterial injury-induced accelerated atherosclerosis, inflammation and macrophage foam-cell formation.

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Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Dr M. K. Barthwal, fax +91 522 2771941, email


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British Journal of Nutrition
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