Caloric restriction favorably impacts metabolic and immune/inflammatory profiles in obese mice but curcumin/piperine consumption adds no further benefit

Junpeng Wang, Sally M. Vanegas, Xiaogang Du, Timothy Noble, Jean Marc A. Zingg, Mohsen Meydani, Simin Nikbin Meydani, Dayong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity is associated with low-grade inflammation and impaired immune response. Caloric restriction (CR) has been shown to inhibit inflammatory response and enhance cell-mediated immune function. Curcumin, the bioactive phenolic component of turmeric spice, is proposed to have anti-obesity and anti-inflammation properties while piperine, another bioactive phenolic compound present in pepper spice, can enhance the bioavailability and efficacy of curcumin. This study sought to determine if curcumin could potentiate CR's beneficial effect on immune and inflammatory responses in obesity developed in mice by feeding high-fat diet (HFD). Methods. Mice were fed a HFD for 22 wk and then randomized into 5 groups: one group remained on HFD ad libitum and the remaining 4 groups were fed a 10% CR (reduced intake of HFD by 10% but maintaining the same levels of micronutrients) in the presence or absence of curcumin and/or piperine for 5 wk, after which CR was increased to 20% for an additional 33 wk. At the end of the study, mice were sacrificed, and spleen cells were isolated. Cells were stimulated with T cell mitogens, anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies, or lipopolysaccharide to determine T cell proliferation, cytokine production, and CD4+ T cell subpopulations. Results: Compared to HFD control group, all CR mice, regardless of the presence of curcumin and/or piperine, had lower body weight and fat mass, lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, and fewer total spleen cells but a higher percentage of CD4+ T cells. Additionally, they demonstrated lower production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α, a trend toward lower IL-6, and lower production of PGE§ssub§2§esub§, a lipid molecule with pro-inflammatory and T cell-suppressive properties. Mice with CR alone had higher splenocyte proliferation and IL-2 production, but this effect of CR was diminished by spice supplementation. CR alone or in combination with spice supplementation had no effect on production of cytokines IL-4, IL-10, IFN-γ, and IL-17, or the proportion of different CD4+ T cell subsets. Conclusion: CR on an HFD favorably impacts both metabolic and immune/inflammatory profiles; however, the presence of curcumin and/or piperine does not amplify CR's beneficial effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalNutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Caloric restriction
  • Curcumin
  • Inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Piperine
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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