Curcumin suppresses TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation and attenuates angiogenic activity of orbital fibroblasts

Wei Kuang Yu, Wei Lun Hwang, Yi Chuan Wang, Chieh Chih Tsai*, Yau Huei Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Orbital fibrosis, a hallmark of tissue remodeling in Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO), is a chronic, progressive orbitopathy with few effective treatments. Orbital fibroblasts are effector cells, and transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) acts as a critical inducer to promote myofibroblast differentiation and subsequent tissue fibrosis. Curcumin is a natural compound with anti-fibrotic activity. This study aims to investigate the effects of curcumin on TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation and on the pro-angiogenic activities of orbital fibroblasts. Orbital fibroblasts from one healthy donor and three patients with GO were collected for primary cell culture and subjected to myofibroblast differentiation under the administration of 1 or 5 ng/mL TGF-β1 for 24 h. The effects of curcumin on TGF-β1-induced orbital fibroblasts were assessed by measuring the cellular viability and detecting the expression of myofibroblast differentiation markers, including connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). The pro-angiogenic potential of curcumin-treated orbital fibroblasts was evaluated by examining the transwell migration and tube-forming capacities of fibroblast-conditioned EA.hy926 and HMEC-1 endothelial cells. Treatment of orbital fibroblasts with curcumin inhibited the TGF-β1 signaling pathway and attenuated the expression of CTGF and α-SMA induced by TGF-β1. Curcumin, at the concentration of 5 µg/mL, suppressed 5 ng/mL TGF-β1-induced pro-angiogenic activities of orbital fibroblast-conditioned EA hy926 and HMEC-1 endothelial cells. Our findings suggest that curcumin reduces the TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation and pro-angiogenic activity in orbital fibroblasts. The results support the potential application of curcumin for the treatment of GO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6829
JournalInternational Journal Of Molecular Sciences
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Curcumin
  • Graves’ ophthalmopathy
  • Orbital fibrosis
  • Thyroid eye disease


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