Supra-nutritional doses of curcumin, derived from the spice Curcuma longa, have been proposed as a potential treatment of inflammation and metabolic disorders related to obesity. The aim of the present study was to test whether Curcuma longa extract rich in curcumin and associated with white pepper (Curcuma-P®), at doses compatible with human use, could modulate systemic inflammation in diet-induced obese mice. We questioned the potential relevance of changes in adiposity and gut microbiota in the effect of Curcuma-P® in obesity.
Mice were fed either a control diet (CT), a high fat (HF) diet or a HF diet containing Curcuma longa extract (0.1 % of curcumin in the HF diet) associated with white pepper (0.01 %) for four weeks. Curcumin has been usually combined with white pepper, which contain piperine, in order to improve its bioavailability. This combination did not significantly modify body weight gain, glycemia, insulinemia, serum lipids and intestinal inflammatory markers. Tetrahydrocurcumin, but not curcumin accumulated in the subcutaneous adipose tissue. Importantly, the co-supplementation in curcuma extract and white pepper decreased HF-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissue, an effect independent of adiposity, immune cells recruitment, angiogenesis, or modulation of gut bacteria controlling inflammation.
These findings support that nutritional doses of Curcuma longa, associated with white pepper, is able to decrease inflammatory cytokines expression in the adipose tissue and this effect could be rather linked to a direct effect of bioactive metabolites reaching the adipose tissue, than from changes in the gut microbiota composition.