Curcumin improves regulatory T cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissue of colitis mice

Hai Mei Zhao, Rong Xu, Xiao Ying Huang, Shao Min Cheng, Min Fang Huang, Hai Yang Yue, Xin Wang, Yong Zou, Aiping LYU, Duan Yong Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To explore the probable pathway by which curcumin (Cur) regulates the function of Treg cells by observing the expression of costimulatory molecules of dendritic cells (DCs). METHODS: Experimental colitis was induced by administering 2, 4, 6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)/ethanol solution. Forty male C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into four groups: normal, TNBS + Cur, TNBS + mesalazine (Mes) and TNBS groups. The mice in the TNBS + Cur and TNBS +Mes groups were treated with Cur and Mes, respectively, while those in the TNBS group were treated with physiological saline for 7 d. After treatment, the curative effect of Cur was evaluated by colonic weight, colonic length, weight index of the colon, and histological observation and score. The levels of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ T cells (Treg cells) and costimulatory molecules of DCs were measured by flow cytometry. Also, related cytokines were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: Cur alleviated inflammatory injury of the colonic mucosa, decreased colonic weigh and histological score, and restored colonic length. The number of Treg cells was increased, while the secretion of TNF-α, IL-2, IL-6, IL-12 p40, IL-17 and IL-21 and the expression of costimulatory molecules (CD205, CD54 [ICAM-1], TLR4, CD252[OX40 L], CD256 [RANK] and CD254 [RANK L]) of DCs were notably inhibited in colitis mice treated with Cur. CONCLUSION: Cur potentially modulates activation of DCs to enhance the suppressive functions of Treg cells and promote the recovery of damaged colonic mucosa in inflammatory bowel disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5374-5383
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Gastroenterology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Costimulatory molecules
  • Curcumin
  • Dendritic cells
  • Regulatory T cells


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