The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin are well documented. However, the bioavailability of curcumin is a major barrier to its biological efficacy. Low-dose combination of complimentary bioactives appears to be an attractive strategy for limiting barriers to efficacy of bioactive compounds. In this study, the anti-inflammatory potential of curcumin in combination with chlorogenic acid (CGA), was investigated using human THP-1 macrophages stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Curcumin alone suppressed TNF-α production in a dose-dependent manner with a decrease in cell viability at higher doses. Although treatment with CGA alone had no effect on TNF-α production, it however enhanced cell viability and co-administration with curcumin at a 1:1 ratio caused a synergistic reduction in TNF-α production with no impact on cell viability. Furthermore, an qRT-PCR analysis of NF-κB pathway components and inflammatory biomarkers indicated that CGA alone was not effective in reducing the mRNA expression of any of the tested inflammatory marker genes, except TLR-4. However, co-administration of CGA with curcumin, potentiated the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin. Curcumin and CGA together reduced the mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines [TNF-α (~88%) and IL-6 (~99%)], and COX-2 (~92%), possibly by suppression of NF-κB (~78%), IκB-β-kinase (~60%) and TLR-4 receptor (~72%) at the mRNA level. Overall, co-administration with CGA improved the inflammation-lowering effects of curcumin in THP-1 cells.
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