Substance present in turmeric may be a new therapeutic option in the treatment of ulcerative colitis

Rosa Emilia Moraes, Scientific journalist at Linceu Editorial, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.

Logo of the journal Acta Cirúrgica BrasileiraUlcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that is difficult to control, which, when presented in a moderate or severe form, may require complex and expensive treatment. Therefore, there is a continuous search for new alternatives. One of the treatment strategies is the oral use of nanoparticles loaded with drugs that can be transported through the gastrointestinal tract and released into the colonic lumen.

Curcumin is a polyphenol extracted from Curcuma longa, originally from India, widely used in cooking and traditional medicine. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been explored in several experimental and clinical studies, which have recognized the potential of curcumin for the treatment of various diseases in humans.

In the article“Treatment of colitis by oral negatively charged nanostructured curcumin in rats”, published in Acta Cirúrgica Brasileira (v. 37, n. 5), researchers from the Department of Surgery at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) examine the effects of a negatively charged nanostructured curcumin microemulsion for therapy of UC in Wistar rats, which had ulcerative colitis induced by colonic instillation of 4% acetic acid (AAC). The results showed the positive influence of curcumin.

Previously, Zamyatina and Heine (2020) demonstrated that the inflamed mucosa has a high level of positively charged proteins, which causes a negatively charged system to be preferentially attracted to it. The nanostructured curcumin microemulsion used in the experiment was formulated and characterized at the Laboratory of Disperse Systems at UFRN. To measure the surface charge of the nanoparticles, the parameter Zeta Potential (ZP) was applied.

Imagens macroscópicas representativas de seis amostras frescas de cólon de 8 cm para cada grupo após os tratamentos. As lesões são indicadas por setas. Foi utilizado um microscópio cirúrgico (DF vasconcelos, São Paulo, Brasil ×10). (a) Grupo controle normal. A mucosa é completamente normal em todas as amostras. (b) Ratos com colite e tratados com solução salina normal. Múltiplas ulcerações, edema e áreas de necrose são observadas. (c) As imagens de ratos com colite tratados com curcumina são semelhantes aos ratos controles normais. (d) Ratos com colite tratados com mesalazina. Múltiplas ulcerações de diferentes tamanhos, edema, necrose e dilatação da parede do cólon.

Image: own authorship

The article describes the procedures and techniques applied to each stage of the experiment, which lasted a total of 7 days. Seventy-two hours after the rectal injection of 4% AAC that induced UC, the mice were divided into groups that received different treatments. In all analyses — presented macro and microscopically and illustrated with figures and tables — the group treated with curcumin obtained the best results.

The data produced reinforce the findings of Sharma et al. (2019), who, when quantitatively evaluating the absorption of curcumin nanoparticles in the digestive tract organs of an animal model of UC after oral administration, observed their high concentration in the inflamed tissues of the colon. This information fosters an optimistic outlook for the application of this nanostructured curcumin system with negative zeta potential as an oral phytopharmaceutical, confirming great penetration and retention.


SHARMA, M., SHARMA, S. and WADHWA, J. Improved uptake and therapeutic intervention of curcumin via designing binary lipid nanoparticulate formulation for oral delivery in inflammatory bowel disorder. Artif Cells Nanomed Biotechnol. [online]. 2019, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 45-55 [viewed 13 October 2022]. Available from:

ZAMYATINA, A. and HEINE, H. Lipopolysaccharide recognition in the crossroads of TLR4 and caspase-4/11 mediated inflammatory pathways. Front Immunol. [online]. 2020, vol. 11, 585146 [viewed 13 October 2022]. Available from:

To read the full article, access:

CELANI, L.M.S., et al. Treatment of colitis by oral negatively charged nanostructured curcumin in rats. Acta Cir. Bras. [online]. 2022, vol. 37, no. 6, e370602 [viewed 13 October 2022]. Available from:


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Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

MORAES, R.E. Substance present in turmeric may be a new therapeutic option in the treatment of ulcerative colitis [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2022 [viewed ]. Available from:


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