Theranostics 2022; 12(12):5596-5614. doi:10.7150/thno.73650 This issue

Research Paper

Turmeric-derived nanovesicles as novel nanobiologics for targeted therapy of ulcerative colitis

Caifang Gao1, Yangyang Zhou1, Zhejie Chen1, Hongyi Li1, Yaqin Xiao1, Wei Hao1, Ying Zhu2, Chi Teng Vong1, Mohamed A. Farag3, Yitao Wang1,✉, Shengpeng Wang1,✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao, China
2. Department of Integrative Oncology, Fudan University, Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai 200032, China
3. Pharmacognosy Department, College of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Kasr el Aini St., Cairo 11562, Egypt

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Gao C, Zhou Y, Chen Z, Li H, Xiao Y, Hao W, Zhu Y, Vong CT, Farag MA, Wang Y, Wang S. Turmeric-derived nanovesicles as novel nanobiologics for targeted therapy of ulcerative colitis. Theranostics 2022; 12(12):5596-5614. doi:10.7150/thno.73650. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Rationale: Ulcerative colitis (UC), a typical kind of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is an idiopathic chronic intestinal inflammation. Conventional therapeutic strategies mainly focus on the rebalance of pro-inflammation and anti-inflammation cytokines, whereas targeting damaged intestinal barriers, imbalanced intestinal microbiota and dysregulated mucosal immune responses in UC remain a big challenge. The objective of this study was to develop turmeric-derived nanovesicles (TNVs) for alleviation of colitis and explore the underlying mechanisms.

Methods: TNVs were isolated and purified through differential centrifugation. The targeted ability was evaluated on the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced mouse model by IVIS imaging system. The anti-inflammation efficacy was studied in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced macrophages and DSS-induced acute and chronic colitic mouse model. In addition, the influence of TNVs on the intestinal microbiota was investigated via 16S rRNA microbiome sequence and the condition of macrophage polarization after TNVs treatment was analyzed by flow cytometry.

Results: TNVs were isolated and characterized as nano-size spheroids. The IVIS imaging experiment indicated that orally administrated TNVs could accumulate in the inflamed colon sites and exhibited superior anti-inflammatory activity both in vitro and in vivo. The 16S rRNA sequencing suggested the important role of TNVs in the regulation of gut microbiota. Further, TNVs could promote the transformation of M1 phenotype to M2 macrophages and restore the damaged intestinal epithelium barrier to exert the anti-colitis efficacy.

Conclusion: Collectively, oral administration of TNVs exhibited excellent anti-inflammatory efficacy through restoring the damaged intestinal barrier, regulating the gut microbiota and reshaping the macrophage phenotype. This study sheds light on the application of natural exosome-like nanovesicles for the treatment of UC.

Keywords: Turmeric-derived nanovesicles, Ulcerative colitis, Gut microbiota, Macrophage polarization, Fresh herbs