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Effect of curcumin on proinflammatory cytokines: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Gorabi, Armita Mahdavi; Razi, Bahman; Aslani, Saeed; Abbasifard, Mitra; Imani, Danyal; Sathyapalan, Thozhukat; Sahebkar, Amirhossein


Armita Mahdavi Gorabi

Bahman Razi

Saeed Aslani

Mitra Abbasifard

Danyal Imani

Thozhukat Sathyapalan

Amirhossein Sahebkar


It has been suggested that curcumin has the potential for lowering inflammation. In the current meta-analysis, we attempted to clarify the efficacy of curcumin/turmeric supplementation in reducing concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in patients with an inflammatory background. The main databases were searched to identify eligible trials evaluating the effect of curcumin in reducing IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α in serum up to March 2021. The effect sizes for weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. Overall, 32 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. There was a significant decrease in the serum levels of IL-1 (WMD = −2.33 pg/ml, 95% CI = −3.33 to −1.34, P < 0.001) and TNF-α (WMD = −1.61 pg/ml, 95% CI = −2.72, −0.51, P < 0.001) compared to the placebo group following treatment. Nonetheless, curcumin/turmeric supplementation was non-significantly associated with reduced levels of IL-6 (WMD = −0.33 pg/ml, 95% CI = −0.99–0.34, P = 0.33) and increased levels of IL-8 (WMD = 0.52 pg/ml, 95% CI = −1.13–2.17, P = 0.53). The dose-responses analysis indicated that curcumin/turmeric supplementation resulted in IL-1 and IL-8 alteration in a non-linear model. Subgroup analysis according to duration and dose of treatment and target population revealed diverse outcomes. Curcumin could have a beneficial effect in reducing the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1 and TNF-α, but not IL-6 and IL-8 levels.


Gorabi, A. M., Razi, B., Aslani, S., Abbasifard, M., Imani, D., Sathyapalan, T., & Sahebkar, A. (2021). Effect of curcumin on proinflammatory cytokines: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cytokine, 143,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 9, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 29, 2021
Publication Date 2021-07
Deposit Date May 15, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 30, 2022
Journal Cytokine
Print ISSN 1043-4666
Electronic ISSN 1096-0023
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 143
Article Number 155541
Keywords Curcumin; Inflammation; Randomized controlled trials; Interleukin; TNF
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