Curcumin, the active principle of turmeric (Curcuma longa), ameliorates diabetic nephropathy in rats

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2006 Oct;33(10):940-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2006.04468.x.


Chronic hyperglycaemia in diabetes leads to the overproduction of free radicals and evidence is increasing that these contribute to the development of diabetic nephropathy. Among the spices, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is used as a flavouring and colouring agent in the indian diet every day and is known to possess anti-oxidant properties. The present study was designed to examine the effect of curcumin, a yellow pigment of turmeric, on renal function and oxidative stress in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Diabetes was induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ (65 mg/kg) in rats. Four weeks after STZ injection, rats were divided into four groups, namely control rats, diabetic rats and diabetic rats treated with curcumin (15 and 30 mg/kg, p.o.) for 2 weeks. Renal function was assessed by creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine and urea clearance and urine albumin excretion. Oxidative stress was measured by renal malonaldehyde, reduced glutathione and the anti-oxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase. Streptozotocin-injected rats showed significant increases in blood glucose, polyuria and a decrease in bodyweight compared with age-matched control rats. After 6 weeks, diabetic rats also exhibited renal dysfunction, as evidenced by reduced creatinine and urea clearance and proteinuria, along with a marked increase in oxidative stress, as determined by lipid peroxidation and activities of key anti-oxidant enzymes. Chronic treatment with curcumin significantly attenuated both renal dysfunction and oxidative stress in diabetic rats. These results provide confirmatory evidence of oxidative stress in diabetic nephropathy and point towards the possible anti-oxidative mechanism being responsible for the nephroprotective action of curcumin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Curcuma
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / mortality
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / mortality
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Kidney / anatomy & histology
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Survival Rate


  • Blood Glucose
  • Plant Extracts
  • Malondialdehyde
  • turmeric extract
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione
  • Curcumin