The present investigation reports the effect of curcumin, an antioxidant, on gentamicin-induced-renal oxidative damage in rats. Curcumin (200 mg/kg p.o.) was administered for 2 weeks before and 1 week simultaneously with gentamicin (100 mg/kg i.p.). Saline treated rats served as control. Serum creatinine, blood urea (BUN), urinary protein, glucose, urine gamma glutamyl transferase and urine volume increased in rats treated with gentamicin while creatinine clearance decreased compared to controls P<0.001. Renal histological examination revealed tubular necrosis. Curcumin significantly normalized the above parameters. Gentamicin decreased the activities of catalase (CAT), gutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) and the level of glutathione (GSH) but the activity of copper, zinc-superoxide dismutase (Cu, Zn-SOD) was unaltered compared to control. Curcumin attenuated the gentamicin-induced reduction in the activities of CAT, GSHPx and level of GSH by 31%, 55% and 74%, respectively. Curcumin attenuated the gentamicin-induced increases in both plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) and kidney MDA by 57% and 62%, respectively, as well as lipid hydroperoxide (LOOH) formation by 52% and 56% in rat plasma and kidney, respectively. However, Curcumin did not reduce gentamicin-induced formation of LOOH, both in the plasma and kidney, in the presence of exogenous oxidants (1 mM FeSO4, 1 mM ascorbate, 0.2 mM H2O2). Our data indicate that the natural antioxidant curcumin can be a potent protective agent against renal oxidative damage mediated by gentamicin.