Preventive efficacy of bulk and nanocurcumin against lead-induced oxidative stress in mice

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 Apr;152(1):31-40. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9586-3. Epub 2013 Jan 6.


Chronic lead exposure is associated with several health disorders in humans and animals. Lead exposure leads to the generation of reactive oxygen species and depletes body antioxidant enzymes causing damage to various macromolecules and ultimately cell death. Curcumin has been widely recognized to protect against metal toxicity but has major limitations of reduced bioavailability. Nanoencapsulation of curcumin could be an effective strategy to combat lead induced toxic manifestations. The present study investigates the protective efficacy of bulk and nanocurcumin against lead-induced toxicity. Swiss albino mice were daily exposed to lead acetate (25 mg/kg, i.p.) alone and after 1 h treated either with curcumin (15 mg/kg, orally) or nanocurcumin (15 mg/kg, orally) for two consecutive weeks. The preventive efficacy of nanocurcumin was evaluated against various altered biochemical variables suggestive of oxidative stress and lead accumulation in blood and soft tissues. Coadministration of nanocurcumin with lead restored the altered δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity, glutathione (reduced and oxidized) levels, and also decreased reactive oxygen species, and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances levels. Nanocurcumin due to its possible chelating property and enhanced bioavailability efficiently removed lead from blood and soft tissues compared to bulk curcumin. Results demonstrate the enhanced preventive efficacy of nanocurcumin and suggest an interesting and novel approach for better treatment of lead toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Disulfide / metabolism
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lead / administration & dosage
  • Lead / toxicity*
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles / administration & dosage
  • Organometallic Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Organometallic Compounds / toxicity
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Porphobilinogen Synthase / blood
  • Porphobilinogen Synthase / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / blood
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Lead
  • Porphobilinogen Synthase
  • Glutathione
  • Curcumin
  • lead acetate
  • Glutathione Disulfide