For years, there have been studies based on the use of natural compounds plant-derived as potential therapeutic agents for various diseases in humans. Curcumin is a phenolic compound extracted from Curcuma longa rhizome commonly used in Asia as a spice, pigment and additive. In traditional medicine of India and China, curcumin is considered as a therapeutic agent used in several foods. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin has broad biological functions particularly antioxidant and antiinflammatory. In fact, it has been established that curcumin is a bifunctional antioxidant; it exerts antioxidant activity in a direct and an indirect way by scavenging reactive oxygen species and inducing an antioxidant response, respectively. The renoprotective effect of curcumin has been evaluated in several experimental models including diabetic nephropathy, chronic renal failure, ischemia and reperfusion and nephrotoxicity induced by compounds such as gentamicin, adriamycin, chloroquine, iron nitrilotriacetate, sodium fluoride, hexavalent chromium and cisplatin. It has been shown recently in a model of chronic renal failure that curcumin exerts a therapeutic effect; in fact it reverts not only systemic alterations but also glomerular hemodynamic changes. Another recent finding shows that the renoprotective effect of curcumin is associated to preservation of function and redox balance of mitochondria. Taking together, these studies attribute the protective effect of curcumin in the kidney to the induction of the master regulator of antioxidant response nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2 (Nrf2), inhibition of mitochondrial dysfunction, attenuation of inflammatory response, preservation of antioxidant enzymes and prevention of oxidative stress. The information presented in this paper identifies curcumin as a promising renoprotective molecule against renal injury.
Keywords: Bifunctional antioxidant; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Nephrotoxicity; Nrf2; Oxidative stress; Renal hemodynamics.