Curcumin may help grow vascular tissues, according to study


A recent study by University of California (UC) Riverside, found that curcumin, a compound in turmeric with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, encouraged the growth of vascular tissue by promoting the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The study, published ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, was led by Huinan Liu, PhD, a professor of bioengineering at UC Riverside. To form a deeper understanding of curcumin’s regenerative properties, Lui and her team of researchers coated magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle with curcumin, creating a biocompatible hydrogel. The scientists then cultured the hydrogel with stem cells from bone marrow, allowing for the release of curcumin with no injury to the cells. The researchers compared the VEGF secretion levels between hydrogels with curcumin-coated nanoparticles and hydrogels filled with bare nanoparticles. The results showed that the curcumin hydrogels had a greater amount of VEGF secretion.

"Our study shows that curcumin released from magnetic hydrogels promotes the cells to secrete VEGF, which is one of the most critical growth factors to enhance the formation of new blood vessels," said co-author Changlu Xu, a doctoral candidate in Liu's group who focused on hydrogel research.

Using the magnetic properties of the nanoparticles, the researchers were also able to successfully direct the movement of nanoparticles within the body.

This study indicates that future interventions may be able to use curcumin hydrogels to help heel or grow targeted tissue.