More commonly known as turmeric, the benefits of C. longa in managing joint pain and inflammation have been detailed in numerous studies.
With osteoarthritis a major cause of physical disability and morbidity for millions worldwide, scientists have explored turmeric's protective potential against the progressive degenerative condition, which is linked to compositional and structural alterations in the articular cartilage.
Examining the extract's effects
In order to comprehend turmeric extract's plausible mechanism of action, Indian healthcare firm Natural Remedies had researchers in its R&D centre's biology department conduct a study to assess the impact of polar extract of C. longa, NR-INF-02, on cartilage homeostasis in human articular chondrocytes knee cells.
The researchers induced the dysregulation of cartilage homeostasis using the cytokine protein IL-1β (interleukin 1 beta), and H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) in human primary knee articular chondrocytes purchased from Swiss biotechnology firm Lonza.
They then evaluated the modulating effects of NR-INF-02 on cartilage synthesis markers (type II collagen degradation and glycosaminoglycans) and degradation markers (chondrocyte apoptosis, eicosanoids, cytokine and senescence) in the knee cells.
Botanical pain relief?
They observed that NR-INF-02 "significantly attenuated IL-1β-induced chondrocyte cytotoxicity, apoptosis and release of chondrocyte degradation markers".
At the same time, NR-INF-02 "protected IL-1β-induced damage to synthesis markers such as glycosaminoglycans, type II collagen, and further attenuated H2O2-induced chondrocyte senescence".
The researchers wrote that NR-INF-02 could have ameliorated osteoarthritic pain and functional disability due to its inhibitory effect on catabolic factors like IL-1β and TNFα (tumour necrosis factor alpha), which are typically involved in cartilage degeneration.
They cited a previous study on rats, saying NR-INF-02 had markedly reduced joint pain caused by monosodium iodoacetate (MIA), with both single and multiple doses improving their hind paw weight distribution.
These results were attributed to NR-INF-02's inhibitory impact on catabolic and nociceptive factors like cytokines and eicosanoids.
The researchers added that in in vitro test systems, NR-INF-02 displayed anti-inflammatory activity, therefore reinforcing the findings of the current study.
They wrote that NR-INF-02 protects cartilage homeostasis through its ability to maintain the balance between the degradation and synthesis of the cartilage matrix.
They concluded: "NR-INF-02 demonstrated on cartilage homeostasis in chondrocytes by inhibiting the cartilage degradative markers and improving the synthesis markers.
"Overall, the observed beneﬁcial eﬀects of NR-INF-02 in preclinical and clinical trials on osteoarthritic pain and inﬂammation could be due to the aforesaid mechanisms."
"Polar extract of Curcuma longa protects cartilage homeostasis: possible mechanism of action"
Authors: Chandrasekaran Chinampudur Velusami, et al.