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Open Access Research

Caloric restriction favorably impacts metabolic and immune/inflammatory profiles in obese mice but curcumin/piperine consumption adds no further benefit

Junpeng Wang1, Sally M Vanegas1, Xiaogang Du1, Timothy Noble2, Jean-Marc A Zingg2, Mohsen Meydani2, Simin Nikbin Meydani13 and Dayong Wu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA

2 Vascular Biology Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA, 02111, USA

3 Department of Pathology, Sackler Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Tufts University, Boston, MA, 02111, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2013, 10:29  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-10-29

Published: 27 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Obesity is associated with low-grade inflammation and impaired immune response. Caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to inhibit inflammatory response and enhance cell-mediated immune function. Curcumin, the bioactive phenolic component of turmeric spice, is proposed to have anti-obesity and anti-inflammation properties while piperine, another bioactive phenolic compound present in pepper spice, can enhance the bioavailability and efficacy of curcumin. This study sought to determine if curcumin could potentiate CR’s beneficial effect on immune and inflammatory responses in obesity developed in mice by feeding high-fat diet (HFD).

Methods

Mice were fed a HFD for 22 wk and then randomized into 5 groups: one group remained on HFD ad libitum and the remaining 4 groups were fed a 10% CR (reduced intake of HFD by 10% but maintaining the same levels of micronutrients) in the presence or absence of curcumin and/or piperine for 5 wk, after which CR was increased to 20% for an additional 33 wk. At the end of the study, mice were sacrificed, and spleen cells were isolated. Cells were stimulated with T cell mitogens, anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies, or lipopolysaccharide to determine T cell proliferation, cytokine production, and CD4+ T cell subpopulations.

Results

Compared to HFD control group, all CR mice, regardless of the presence of curcumin and/or piperine, had lower body weight and fat mass, lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, and fewer total spleen cells but a higher percentage of CD4+ T cells. Additionally, they demonstrated lower production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α, a trend toward lower IL-6, and lower production of PGE2, a lipid molecule with pro-inflammatory and T cell-suppressive properties. Mice with CR alone had higher splenocyte proliferation and IL-2 production, but this effect of CR was diminished by spice supplementation. CR alone or in combination with spice supplementation had no effect on production of cytokines IL-4, IL-10, IFN-γ, and IL-17, or the proportion of different CD4+ T cell subsets.

Conclusion

CR on an HFD favorably impacts both metabolic and immune/inflammatory profiles; however, the presence of curcumin and/or piperine does not amplify CR’s beneficial effects.

Keywords:
Obesity; Caloric restriction; Inflammation; T cells; Curcumin; Piperine