Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Pre-clinical research

Curcumin boosts immune cell power against tuberculosis

Incubating cells with turmeric compound reduced Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.

Turmeric roots - curcumin is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in the spice


A compound found in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to induce apoptosis in macrophages infected with tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis can replicate inside macrophages and inducing apoptosis of these cells can enhance immune response to tuberculosis (TB) infection. 

Researchers found they could trigger apoptosis by inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B (NFκB) activation. The team, led by Xiyuan Bai at the University of Colorado, have now studied the effect of curcumin – a compound in turmeric and a known inhibitor of NFκB activation – on human macrophages infected with M. tuberculosis

Reporting in Respirology (online, 24 March 2016)[1], the researchers found that incubating cells with curcumin significantly reduced the amount of M. tuberculosis recovered four days after infection. This effect was via inhibition of NFκB, leading to apoptosis and autophagy. 

The team says curcumin could become a new immune-enhancing treatment in drug-resistant TB, but further studies are needed to explore its efficacy and safety.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20200933

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Turmeric roots - curcumin is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in the spice

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.