Curcumin enhances the immunosuppressive activity of cyclosporine in rat cardiac allografts and in mixed lymphocyte reactions

Shih Chieh J. Chueh*, M. K. Lai, I. S. Liu, F. C. Teng, J. Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


Curcumin (CCM; diferuoylmethane) is a dietary pigment in curry with known antineoplastic and anti-inflammatory effects. The immunosuppressive effects of CCM were studied in (1) rat heterotopic cardiac transplant models, using Brown-Norway (BN, RT1n) hearts to WKY (RT1u) hosts or Buffalo (BUF, RT1b) hearts to Wistar-Furth (WF, RT1u) hosts, (2) reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis of cytokines from transplanted specimens, and (3) mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLR). In the BN-to-WKY model, CCM alone significantly increased the mean survival time (MST) to 20.5 to 24.5 days, as compared to 9.1 days among nontreated controls. The combination of CCM and subtherapeutic doses of CsA produced further prolongation of the MST to 28.5 to 35.6 days, better than that of CCM or CsA alone (P < .05). In a BUF-to-WF model, CCM alone did not increased the MST, unless it was combined with subtherapeutic doses of CsA, wherein two thirds of the grafts survived for more than 60 days (P < .05 as compared to either treatment group). Cytokine analysis revealed significantly reduced expression of interleukin-2 (IL-2), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and granzyme B in the day 3 specimens of the CCM and CCM CsA-treated allografts compared with the nontreated allograft controls. MLRs using the two MHC-incompatible rat strains (BNxWKY) showed an effect of increasing concentrations of CCM and/or CsA, which by combination index (CI) analysis showed a synergistic effect (CI = 0.22 to 0.81). This study for the first time demonstrates the effectiveness of CCM as a novel adjuvant immunosuppressant with cyclosporine both in vivo and in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1603-1605
Number of pages3
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number4
StatePublished - 06 2003
Externally publishedYes


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