In a newly published paper in Drug Design, Development and Therapy Journal entitled “The effect of curcumin and its nano-formulation on adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats“, the authors suggest that curcumin (CM) could be utilized as an anti-arthritic agent.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder which affects mostly joints. However, the disease can also influence other organs like skin, lungs, kidneys, eyes, liver, blood and the neurological system. Statistically, between 0.5 to 1% of adults in the developed world are affected by the disease of which a large portion are women. Although the causes and mechanisms of RA are not yet fully understood, it is believed that the illness is mainly induced by an autoimmune system which induces inflammation. Patients with RA are primarily diagnosed by means of imaging techniques such as X-rays and blood tests.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for RA, but a number of treatments are available to slow down progression of the disease and weaken RA symptoms. Among the treatments, several classes of medications have been suggested to improve symptoms of patients with RA. This includes disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, analgesics and even benzodiazepines like diazepam. The drawbacks of these medications are essentially their association with risks and side effects. Other milder alternatives have been proposed to improve symptoms of RA. Examples include surgery, lifestyle based on regular exercise, dietary supplements, vaccination, pregnancy and alternative medicines. With respect to the latter, a recent study suggests that curcumin (CM), a yellow hydrophobic polyphenol from the ginger family can be utilized to treat RA symptoms.
The authors examined the therapeutic effect of administering CM via three ways: intravenous, injection on RA and formulated drug for oral delivery. The influence of injected CM was evaluated by looking at symptoms like paw swelling, weight indices of the thymus and spleen and the results were compared to those obtained with methotrexate medication as control. At the same time, the stability of the formulated CM drug was evaluated in simulated gastrointestinal fluids and in vitro release.
The results suggest that CM administered via injection had a similar therapeutic effect as methotrexate. More importantly, the formulated drug using CM was found in at least threefold greater concentrations than those obtained with the suspensions.
The authors conclude that CM demonstrated to be an efficient anti-arthritic agent and the drug formulated CM is a promising way to facilitate its oral administration. Since the results were obtained on a rat model, it will be interesting to evaluate CM formulated drug on human patients suffering from RA.