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01.10.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 12/2018

European Journal of Applied Physiology 12/2018

Dietary curcumin supplementation does not alter peripheral blood mononuclear cell responses to exertional heat stress

European Journal of Applied Physiology > Ausgabe 12/2018
Peter A. Falgiano, Trevor L. Gillum, Zach J. Schall, Harrison R. Strag, Matthew R. Kuennen
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by George Havenith.



Curcumin reduces gut barrier damage and plasma cytokine responses to exertional heat stress. However, the role of peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) in this response remains unclear.


This work investigated the effect of 3 days of 500 mg/day dietary curcumin supplementation on PBMC responses to exertional heat stress in non-heat acclimated humans.


Eight participants ran (65% VO2max) for 60 min in an environmental chamber (37 °C/25% RH) two times (curcumin/placebo). Blood samples were collected pre, post, 1 h post, and 4 h post-exercise. PBMC were isolated from blood samples and the protein content of markers along the TLR4 signaling pathway (TLR4, MyD88, pNF-κB, NF-κB), indicators of cellular energy status (SIRT1 and p-AMPK), and mediators of cellular heat shock response (pHSF-1 and HSP70) were examined with Western blot. Data were analyzed with two-way (condition × time) RM-ANOVAs with Newman–Keuls post hocs.


As compared to placebo, curcumin did not alter protein expression in PBMC (p > 0.05). However, in both study conditions at 1 h post-reductions were noted in TLR 4 (− 21.5%; p = 0.03), HSP70 (− 11.0%; p = 0.04), pAMPK (− 48.5%; p < 0.01), and SIRT1 (− 47.8%; p < 0.01). Remarkably, the ratio of pNF-κB to NF-κB was elevated in both conditions at this same timepoint (+ 75.4%; p = 0.02).


Inflammatory protein expression in PBMC did not differ between curcumin and placebo conditions. Downregulation of pAMPK/SIRT1 and release of HSP70 to the bloodstream may compensate for reduced TLR4, allowing PBMC to maintain inflammatory capacity and preventing an “open window” during the hours following hyperthermic exercise.

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