Curcumin prevents DNA damage and enhances the repair potential in a chronically arsenic-exposed human population in West Bengal, India

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 Mar;20(2):123-31. doi: 10.1097/cej.0b013e328341017a.


Induction of oxidative stress and inhibition of DNA repair are possible modes of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis. In West Bengal, India, several districts contain high levels of arsenic, which are far above the WHO-recommended standard. Prevention of arsenic-induced oxidative stress and induction of repair enzymes by curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric, may be an effective strategy to combat the adverse effects of arsenic. This study aimed at observing the role of curcumin in reducing 8-hydroxy-20-deoxyguanosine formation and enhancing DNA repair capacity in the arsenic-exposed population of West Bengal. Chronically arsenic-exposed volunteers (n= 66), who were asymptomatic, were selected for this study. Our results indicated that curcumin suppressed the 8-hydroxy-20-deoxyguanosine level and OGG1 expression, which were increased by arsenic. Curcumin also induced DNA repair enzymes involved in both base excision repair and nonhomologous end-joining pathways. In this study, both the protein expression and genetic profile were observed for poly-ADP-ribose polymerase 1, DNA b polymerase, X ray repair cross complement 1, DNA ligase III, DNA protein kinase catalytic sub-unit, X ray repair cross-complement 4, DNA ligase IV, and topoisomerase II b. The results indicated that arsenic-inhibited DNA repair was induced by curcumin, both at protein and genetic levels. Thus, curcumin intervention may be a useful modality for the prevention of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Arsenic Poisoning / blood
  • Arsenic Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Comet Assay
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • DNA Ligase ATP
  • DNA Ligases / metabolism
  • DNA Repair / drug effects*
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / metabolism
  • Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Xenopus Proteins


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • XRCC4 protein, human
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • DNA Topoisomerases, Type II
  • DNA Ligases
  • DNA Ligase ATP
  • DNA ligase III alpha protein, Xenopus
  • LIG3 protein, human
  • Deoxyguanosine
  • Curcumin