Curcumin Reduces Adipose Tissue Inflammation and Alters Gut Microbiota in Diet-Induced Obese Male Mice

Tariful Islam, Iurii Koboziev, Kembra Albracht-Schulte, Brandon Mistretta, Shane Scoggin, Mohammad Yosofvand, Hanna Moussa, Masoud Zabet-Moghaddam, Latha Ramalingam, Preethi H. Gunaratne, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Scope: Obesity prevalence continues to increase and contribute to metabolic diseases, potentially by driving systemic inflammation. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory spice with claimed health benefits. However, mechanisms by which curcumin may reduce obesity-associated inflammation are poorly understood; thus, it is hypothesized that benefits of curcumin consumption may occur through reduced white adipose tissue (WAT) inflammation and/or beneficial changes in gut bacteria. Methods and Results: Male B6 mice are fed high-fat diets (HFD, 45% kcal fat) or HFD supplemented with 0.4% (w/w) curcumin (HFC) for 14 weeks. Curcumin supplementation significantly reduces adiposity and total macrophage infiltration in WAT, compared to HFD group, consistent with reduced mRNA levels of M1 (Cd80, Cd38, Cd11c) and M2 (Arginase-1) macrophage markers. Moreover, curcumin supplementation reduces expression of other key pro-inflammatory genes, such as NF-κB p65 subunit (p65), Stat1, Tlr4, and Il6, in WAT (p < 0.05). Using microbial 16S RNA sequencing, it is demonstrated that the relative abundance of the Lactococcus, Parasutterella, and Turicibacter genera are increased in the HFC group versus HFD. Conclusions: Curcumin exerts protective metabolic effects in dietary obesity, in part through downregulation of adipose tissue inflammation, which may be mediated by alterations in composition of gut microbiota, and metabolism of curcumin into curcumin-O-glucuronide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2100274
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • curcumin
  • gut microbiota
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • white adipose tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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