Tissue repair and wound healing are complex processes that involve inflammation, granulation and tissue remodeling. Interactions of different cells, extracellular matrix proteins and their receptors are involved in wound healing, and are mediated by cytokines and growth factors. Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a natural product obtained from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, enhanced cutaneous wound healing in rats and guinea pigs. In this study, we have evaluated the efficacy of curcumin treatment by oral and topical applications on impaired wound healing in diabetic rats and genetically diabetic mice using a full thickness cutaneous punch wound model. Wounds of animals treated with curcumin showed earlier re-epithelialization, improved neovascularization, increased migration of various cells including dermal myofibroblasts, fibroblasts, and macrophages into the wound bed, and a higher collagen content. Immunohistochemical localization showed an increase in transforming growth factor-beta1 in curcumin-treated wounds compared to controls. Enhanced transforming growth factor-beta1 mRNA expression in treated wounds was confirmed by in situ hybridization, and laser scan cytometry. A delay in the apoptosis patterns was seen in diabetic wounds compared to curcumin treated wounds as shown by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridyl triphosphate nick end labeling analysis. Curcumin was effective both orally and topically. These results show that curcumin enhanced wound repair in diabetic impaired healing, and could be developed as a pharmacological agent in such clinical settings.