Protective effect of curcumin on experimentally induced inflammation, hepatotoxicity and cardiotoxicity in rats: evidence of its antioxidant property

Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2011 Jul;63(5):419-31. doi: 10.1016/j.etp.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 Apr 3.


The present study investigates the protective effects of curcumin on experimentally induced inflammation, hepatotoxicity, and cardiotoxicity using various animal models with biochemical parameters like serum marker enzymes and antioxidants in target tissues. In addition, liver and cardiac histoarchitecture changes were also studied. Curcumin treatment inhibited carrageenin and albumin induced edema, cotton pellet granuloma formation. The increased relative weight of liver and heart in CCl(4) induced liver injury and isoproterenol induced cardiac necrosis were also reduced by curcumin treatment. Elevated serum marker enzymes, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) increased lipid peroxidation, decreased gluthione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in edematous, granulomatus, liver and heart tissues during inflammation, liver injury and cardiac necrosis, respectively. Curcumin treatment reversed all these above mentioned biochemical changes significantly in all animal models studied. Even histoarchitecture alterations observed in liver injury and cardiac necrosis observed were partially reversed (improved) by curcumin treatments. In in vitro experiments too curcumin inhibited iron catalyzed lipid peroxidation in liver homogenates, scavenged nitric oxide spontaneously generated from nitroprusside and inhibited heat induced hemolysis of rat erythrocytes. The present in vitro and in vivo experimental findings suggest the protective effect of curcumin on experimentally induced inflammation, hepatotoxicity, and cardiotoxicity in rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / prevention & control*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Edema / metabolism
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Female
  • Granuloma, Foreign-Body / metabolism
  • Granuloma, Foreign-Body / prevention & control
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Necrosis
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Curcumin