Open Access Research article

Decrease of a specific biomarker of collagen degradation in osteoarthritis, Coll2-1, by treatment with highly bioavailable curcumin during an exploratory clinical trial

Yves Henrotin12*, Myriam Gharbi3, Yvan Dierckxsens4, Fabian Priem5, Marc Marty6, Laurence Seidel7, Adelin Albert7, Elisabeth Heuse8, Valérie Bonnet8 and Caroline Castermans8

Author Affiliations

1 Bone and Cartilage Research Unit, Institute of Pathology, University of Liège, Level 5, CHU Sart-Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium

2 Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Princess Paola Hospital, Vivalia, Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium

3 Artialis S.A, CIGA tower, level 3, CHU Sart-Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium

4 Tilman S.A., ZI Sud, Baillonville, Belgium

5 Bioxtract S.A., Parc Scientifique Créalys, Rue Guillaume Fouquet 30, 5032 Les Isnes, Belgium

6 Department of Rheumatology, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France

7 Department of Medical Informatics and Biostatistics, CHU Sart Tilman, Liège, Belgium

8 Department of Rheumatology, CHR La Citadelle, Liège, Belgium

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:159  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-159

Published: 17 May 2014



The management of osteoarthritis (OA) remains a challenge. There is a need not only for safe and efficient treatments but also for accurate and reliable biomarkers that would help diagnosis and monitoring both disease activity and treatment efficacy. Curcumin is basically a spice that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In vitro studies suggest that curcumin could be beneficial for cartilage in OA. The aim of this exploratory, non-controlled clinical trial was to evaluate the effects of bio-optimized curcumin in knee OA patients on the serum levels of specific biomarkers of OA and on the evaluation of pain.


Twenty two patients with knee OA were asked to take 2x3 caps/day of bio-optimized curcumin (Flexofytol®) for 3 months. They were monitored after 7, 14, 28 and 84 days of treatment. Pain over the last 24 hours and global assessment of disease activity by the patient were evaluated using a visual analog scale (100 mm). The serum levels of Coll-2-1, Coll-2-1NO2, Fib3-1, Fib3-2, CRP, CTX-II and MPO were determined before and after 14 and 84 days of treatment.


The treatment with curcumin was globally well tolerated. It significantly reduced the serum level of Coll2-1 (p < 0.002) and tended to decrease CRP. No other significant difference was observed with the other biomarkers. In addition, curcumin significantly reduced the global assessment of disease activity by the patient.


This study highlighted the potential effect of curcumin in knee OA patient. This effect was reflected by the variation of a cartilage specific biomarker, Coll2-1 that was rapidly affected by the treatment. These results are encouraging for the qualification of Coll2-1 as a biomarker for the evaluation of curcumin in OA treatment.

Trial registration

NCT01909037 at

Osteoarthritis; Cartilage; Collagen; Curcumin; Biomarker