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Positive effect of curcumin on inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction in obese mice with liver steatosis

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Obesity contributes to the increased risk of liver- related morbidity and mortality. The accumulation of macrophages in adipose tissue in an inflammatory state is a hallmark of obesity-induced hepatic steatosis. In this study, we reveal the role of curcumin in the molecular mechanisms underlying inflammatory events in a model consisting of obese mice with hepatic steatosis. Obese mice fed with curcumin experienced significant weight loss and significantly reduced serum triglyceride (TG) levels. The adipose tumor necrocis factor-α, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 levels were significantly higher in obese mice compared to mice fed with curcumin. Compared to the obese mice, curcumin decreased the number of F4/80-positive macrophages in epididymal adipose and liver tissue. The induction of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation by curcumin resulted in the downregulation of the suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 in the liver of obese mice. Curcumin decreased hepatic TG in obese mice by downregulating the gene expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c in the liver. The hepatic expression of several mitochondrial biogenesis genes decreased in the obese mice, including mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1) and mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam), which are responsible for the lower mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) complex I activity and adenosine triphosphate production. By contrast, obese mice treated with curcumin showed normalized mtDNA, NRF1 and Tfam gene expression, reduced hepatic nuclear factor-κB activities and levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and restored mitochondrial oxidative metabolism and biogenesis. The results from the present sudy show that curcumin prevents fatty liver disease through multiple mechanisms, and suggest that curcumin may be used to prevent the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Traditional Medicine, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. 2: Graduate Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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