Tuesday, 5 June 2018

It was all yellow

Do you believe in the number 17? A lot of MS immunologists do. 

Int Immunopharmacol. 2018 May 28;61:74-81. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2018.05.018. [Epub ahead of print]

Changes in Th17 cells function after nanocurcumin use to treat multiple sclerosis.

Dolati S, Ahmadi M, Rikhtegar R, Babaloo Z, Ayromlou H, Aghebati-Maleki L, Nouri M, Yousefi M.


MS is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes to brain inflammation and Th17 cells are considered to be important in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis. In the current study, we aimed to identify nanocurcumin effects on Th17 cells frequency, cytokines secretion, and expression of transcription factor of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).


In this study we investigated frequency of Th17 lymphocytes; the expression of transcription factor, associated cytokines and the concentration of them in 35 healthy controls, and from 25 patients at baseline and after 6 months of nanocurcumin treatment and also from 25 patients whose received placebo by flowcytometry, real-time PCR and ELISA, respectively.


Our analysis revealed that the proportions of Th17 were increased dramatically, along with increases in the levels of IL-17A, IL-23, and RORγt expression in MS patients in compared with healthy control group. Post-treatment evaluation of the nanocurcumin group revealed a significant decrease in Th17 associated parameters such as Th17 frequency (p = 0.029), expression levels of RORγt (p < 0.0001) and IL-17 (p = 0.0044) and also secretion level of IL-17 (p = 0.0011), but IL-23 mRNA expression levels and IL-23 concentration were not influenced by nanocurcumin. However, in the placebo group there is no significant changes in these factors.


Our study suggests that the increase in proportion of Th17 cells might contribute to the pathogenesis of RRMS. The results of the current work indicated that nanocurcumin is able to restore the dysregulated of Th17 cells in MS patients.

Generally speaking, I steer clear of all 'ooh la frou frou' concepts. There is a certain cognitive dissonance when faced with scientific data on a backdrop of fluff. Theories on diet and neutraceuticlas generally provoke this response in me, which is a shame...But, then some people are born to hand out complaints, while others are born to collect them!!!

Nanocurcumin is similar to native curcumin (turmeric), but has better bioavailability and in vivo stability. Back home, turmeric exists as a principle ingredient in ayurvedic medicine. Western science has subsequently proven that turmeric has great many anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties and maybe useful in the treatment of cancers.

So what about in MS?

Dolati et al. in this article examine the effect of nanocurcumin on Th17 (T helper 17, a sub-type of lymphocytes) cells and their related inflammatory effects (cytokines) in PwMS. It is believed that Th17 cells are exclusively pro-inflammatory and although useful in fighting infections, can also lead to autoimmunity and more active disease in MS.

Participants in the study had RRMS and were on weekly interferon injections. On top of this they also received either nanocurcumin or placebo for 6 months, and there was also a group who didn't have MS.

In those on nanocurcumin the number of circulating Th17 cells in the blood reduced compared to their level at the beginning of the study, where as those in the placebo group did not demonstrate a change (see Figure 1). The reduction in Th17 cells in the nanocurcumin arm was such that they were no different to the non-MS group. The cytokines (IL-17 and IL-23) also reduced in the nanocurcumin group.

Interestingly, the disability (as measured by EDSS) also reduced in the nanocurcumin arm compared with before treatment and the placebo arm - this change was subtle, but statistically significant. Obviously, this needs confirmation and some imaging data looking at the anti-inflammatory effect of nanocurcumin on lesions and whether the primary effect on EDSS improvement is driven via this pathway, needs to be looked at.

Last but not least, there is also ex vivo and in vivo evidence that administration of curcumin ameliorates EAE (the mouse model of MS): http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/2012/03/research-turmeric-and-treatment.html.

Figure 1: The frequency of Th17 cells in nanocurcumin treated and placebo treated RRMS. (A) The isotype control for the flow cytometric strategy of CD4+IL-17+ cells,(B) representative image of a sample with high levels of IL-17+CD4+ T cells (C) other samples with a reduced frequency is shown. (D) Representative dot plots demonstrating the analyzing method used for enumeration of Th17 is shown. There was a noticeable decrease in the frequency of Th17 cells (p value = 0.029). The absolute numbers of Th17 cells were significantly lower in MS patients treated with nanocurcumin in compare with the basal level (before treatment) (p value = 0.018). There is no significant difference in absolute numbers of Th17 cells in placebo group compared with basal level (nanocurcumin group n = 20, placebo group n = 21).


  1. Can you tell us what brand of nanocurcumin they used in this study from the materials and methods section? I dont have access to this journal :(

    1. Nanocurcumin derived from curcumin is an developed form of the
      compound with lessened particle size, better-quality distribution to the
      diseased tissue, better pharmacokinetic properties, better internalization
      and decreased systemic removal [14,15].
      Nanocurcumin is a registered curcumin product (SinaCurcumin®)
      for oral use which has been advanced in Nanotechnology Research
      Center of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran and
      advertised by Exir Nano Sina Company in Tehran-Iran (IRC:
      1228225765) [16]. Each soft gel of Nano-curcumin contains 80 mg of
      curcumin in the form of nano-micelle. Remarkably, curcumin at 80 mg/
      day dose has been established to diminish inflammation [17,18].
      In the present study, we examined the effect of Nano micelle curcumin
      on Th17 cells frequency, RORγt, IL-17, IL-23 mRNA expression
      levels and concentration of these cytokines in MS patients

    2. Thank you. I looked up Sina Curcumin (Nanocurcumin) for more information on the product as well as to see if it was possible for sale. I gather it is not yet, correct?

  2. Can you tell us what dose of nanocurcumin was used in this study?

    1. Blood samples were obtained
      from 25 patients with RRMS, fulfilling McDonald 2010 criteria at
      baseline (before treatment) and 6 months after the initiation of treatment
      with nanocurcumin capsules 80 mg/day between June 2016 and
      January 2017

  3. I like to put curcumin in the rice. It looks very good, I at least like it and makes me eat curcumin almost every day.

  4. Replies
    1. Beat me to it MD2. Catchy tune.

    2. Each to their own, I'm with Alan McGee on this one.

  5. Wasn't this blog that rubbished turmeric and even had poll? Are we saying the opposite based on this research?

    1. L.o.l. I for one will continue to take turmeric. 5000 years anecdotal evidence must count considering.

    2. Although as the saying goes, the plural of anecdote is not data ;-)

    3. Often mis quoted. Plural of anecdotal is data. Look it up.

    4. Not misquoted, the not is added deliberately to the original assertion and is oft used in the scientific community.

      "The earliest known instance appeared in a 1980 book chapter titled “The Game of Health Care Regulation” by Roger G. Noll. This citation is listed in the valuable reference “The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs” from Yale University Press. E

      " Most of the evidence is anecdotal. Nevertheless, in the words of a leading political scientist, Raymond Wolfinger, the plural of anecdote is data, and the data seem to be consistent with the theory."

      "This is an illuminating statement, but it is important to recognize that data used in scientific experiments should be gathered in a systematic manner according to a well-defined protocol. A haphazard group of anecdotes typically do not yield a good data set. Hence, the negation of the expression above is an adage to some researchers:

      The plural of anecdote is not data."

      Score draw?

    5. You mean you're just trying curry fLavour MD, surely.

  6. I read that ayurvedic medicine was aware of the path of the lymphatic system into the brain long before it was recently 'discovered', and the gut/brain links too.

    1. Well yes, I think Western science suspected this also but wasn’t interested, until that is when it became fashionable.

  7. You can get it through Amazon, although the dose is 250mg. I may try to get a supply when i’M in NY in a few months.

  8. It's all BS: It's not bioavailable (funny how they never give you a PK curve), it's unstable & it gives spurious results in assays. Good for curries, though. http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2017/01/12/curcumin-will-waste-your-time

    1. I guess you missed that the nanoparticle formulation is highly bioavailable.

    2. Oh really? What is it? 5x more bioavailable than curcumin? 10x? That's still less than 1%. See this paper for example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918523/ I am curious to find out who claims that nanocurcumin is "highly bioavailable". Some valid data would convince me. Otherwise it's not doing what you think it's doing.

    3. Theres tons of data if you bothered looking... heres 3 to get you started:


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