Curcumin protects against cadmium-induced vascular dysfunction, hypertension and tissue cadmium accumulation in mice

Nutrients. 2014 Mar 21;6(3):1194-208. doi: 10.3390/nu6031194.


Curcumin from turmeric is commonly used worldwide as a spice and has been demonstrated to possess various biological activities. This study investigated the protective effect of curcumin on a mouse model of cadmium (Cd)-induced hypertension, vascular dysfunction and oxidative stress. Male ICR mice were exposed to Cd (100 mg/L) in drinking water for eight weeks. Curcumin (50 or 100 mg/kg) was intragastrically administered in mice every other day concurrently with Cd. Cd induced hypertension and impaired vascular responses to phenylephrine, acetylcholine and sodium nitroprusside. Curcumin reduced the toxic effects of Cd and protected vascular dysfunction by increasing vascular responsiveness and normalizing the blood pressure levels. The vascular protective effect of curcumin in Cd exposed mice is associated with up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein, restoration of glutathione redox ratio and alleviation of oxidative stress as indicated by decreasing superoxide production in the aortic tissues and reducing plasma malondialdehyde, plasma protein carbonyls, and urinary nitrate/nitrite levels. Curcumin also decreased Cd accumulation in the blood and various organs of Cd-intoxicated mice. These findings suggest that curcumin, due to its antioxidant and chelating properties, is a promising protective agent against hypertension and vascular dysfunction induced by Cd.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cadmium / toxicity*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Hypertension / chemically induced
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation


  • Antioxidants
  • Cadmium
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Nos3 protein, mouse
  • Glutathione
  • Curcumin