Protective effect of curcumin against liver warm ischemia/reperfusion injury in rat model is associated with regulation of heat shock protein and antioxidant enzymes

World J Gastroenterol. 2007 Apr 7;13(13):1953-61. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i13.1953.


Aim: To investigate the hypothesis that the protective effects of curcumin in hepatic warm ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury are associated with increasing heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) expression and antioxidant enzyme activity.

Methods: Sixty Sprague-Dawley male rats were randomly divided into sham, I/R, C + I/R groups. The model of reduced-size liver warm ischemia and reperfusion was used. Curcumin (50 mg/kg) was administered by injection through a branch of superior mesenteric vein at 30 min before ischemia in C + I/R group. Five rats were used to investigate the survival during 1 wk after operation in each group. Blood samples and liver tissues were obtained in the remaining animals after 3, 12, and 24 h of reperfusion to assess serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), liver tissue NO(2)(-) + NO(3)(-), malondialdehyde (MDA) content, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), nitricoxide synthase (NOS) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, Hsp70 expression and apoptosis ratio.

Results: Compared with I/R group, curcumin pretreatment group showed less ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury. CAT and SOD activity and Hsp70 expression increased significantly. A higher rate of apoptosis was observed in I/R group than in C + I/R group, and a significant increase of MDA, NO(2)(-) + NO(3)(-) and MPO level in liver tissues and serum transaminase concentration was also observed in I/R group compared to C + I/R group. Curcumin also decreased the activity of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) in liver after reperfusion, but had no effect on the level of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) after reperfusion in liver. The 7 d survival rate was significantly higher in C + I/R group than in I/R group.

Conclusion: Curcumin has protective effects against hepatic I/R injury. Its mechanism might be related to the overexpression of Hsp70 and antioxidant enzymes.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Peroxidase / genetics
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Warm Ischemia / adverse effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Peroxidase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Curcumin