Curcumin as a Candidate for the Treatment of Cerebral Malaria

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Natural products for the control of malaria

Malar J. 2011 Mar 15;10 Suppl 1:S1
BioMed Central

X. The plant-based immunomodulator curcumin as a potential candidate for the development of an adjunctive therapy for cerebral malaria

Mimche PN, Taramelli D, Vivas L
Malar J. 2011 Mar 15;10 Suppl 1:S10
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3059458

Curcuma longa
Curcuma longa [Source: Wikimedia Commons, J.M.Garg]
Patrice N. Mimche of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Università di Milano, with coauthors Donatella Taramelli and Livia Vivas, review the properties of curcumin (Curcuma longa) and its potential as an adjunctive therapy for the management of cerebral malaria.

From the abstract:

“The clinical manifestations of cerebral malaria (CM) are well correlated with underlying major pathophysiological events occurring during an acute malaria infection, the most important of which, is the adherence of parasitized erythrocytes to endothelial cells ultimately leading to sequestration and obstruction of brain capillaries. The consequent reduction in blood flow, leads to cerebral hypoxia, localized inflammation and release of neurotoxic molecules and inflammatory cytokines by the endothelium. The pharmacological regulation of these immunopathological processes by immunomodulatory molecules may potentially benefit the management of this severe complication. Adjunctive therapy of CM patients with an appropriate immunomodulatory compound possessing even moderate anti-malarial activity with the capacity to down regulate excess production of proinflammatory cytokines and expression of adhesion molecules, could potentially reverse cytoadherence, improve survival and prevent neurological sequelae. Current major drug discovery programmes are mainly focused on novel parasite targets and mechanisms of action. However, the discovery of compounds targeting the host remains a largely unexplored but attractive area of drug discovery research for the treatment of CM.”

The authors review the evidence for curcumin as a modulator of the innate immune response to malaria infection, and conclude that the potential anti-malarial activity of curcumin merits investigation alongside ongoing research efforts exploring clinical applications of curcumin in chronic inflammatory disorders, diabetes and cancer.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

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