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From kitchen to gut: curcumin in cholestasis
  1. Rifaat Safadi
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rifaat Safadi, Liver & Gastroenterology Units, Division of Medicine, Hadassah Medical Center, POB 12000, 91120 Jerusalem, Israel; safadi{at}

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Complementary and herbal agents such as curcumin are returning from the past to enter the future of medicine. Curcumin is a compound extracted from the dietary spice turmeric, part of the medicinal plant known as turmeric yellow derived from the stem (rhizome) of Curcuma longa.1 New biological activities and medicinal properties for curcumin have been described recently, including salutary effects in liver injury and fibrosis models.2 The plant has been used as a remedy for poisoning and snake bites, to prevent and cure skin lesions, ulcers and digestive disorders, clear intestinal parasites and to treat a range of complaints.3 In the April issue of Gut, Baghdasaryan et al evaluated the effect of curcumin in an animal model of sclerosing cholangitis, the multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 (Mdr2) knockout (−/−) mouse.4 The manuscript immediately raises intriguing questions. Does the MDR2−/− mice model reflect human primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)? How does the administration of the yellow spice from the kitchen alleviate jaundice? Is curcumin really a practical answer to improving liver injury? Does curcumin provide a tool to better understand the pathophysiology of cholestasis and offer therapeutic targeting? Although Baghdasaryan et al answer many of these questions; are there other interpretations of their data?

Mdr2−/− mice lacking biliary phospholipid excretion …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.