Preventive effect of curcumin on inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in high-fat fed obese rats

J Complement Integr Med. 2016 Jun 1;13(2):137-43. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2015-0070.


Background: The present study investigated the beneficial effects of curcumin on inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance in high-fat fed male Wistar rats.

Methods: Five-month-old male Wistar rats (n=20) were divided into two groups (10 rats in each group). Among the two groups, one group received 30 % high-fat diet (HFD) and another group received 30 % HFD with curcumin (200 mg/kg body weight). Food intake, body weight and biochemical parameters were measured at the beginning and at the end of the study. After 10 weeks, oxidative stress parameters in skeletal muscle and hepatic triacylglycerol (TAG) content were estimated. Histological examinations of the liver samples were performed at the end of the experiment.

Results: High-fat feeding caused increase in body weight, liver and adipose tissue mass. Rats fed with HFD showed increased levels of fasting plasma glucose, insulin, Homeostasis Model Assessment for Insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), total cholesterol (TC), TAG, very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-c) and decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c). There was also increase in the plasma inflammatory markers [tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), C-reactive protein (CRP)] and skeletal muscle oxidative stress parameters [malondialdehyde (MDA), total oxidant status (TOS)] in these rats. In addition, high-fat feeding increased liver TAG content and caused fat accumulation in the liver. Treatment with curcumin significantly reduced body weight, relative organ weights (liver, adipose tissue), glucose, insulin and HOMA-IR. Curcumin supplementation decreased plasma levels of TC, TAG, VLDL-c, TNF-α and increased HDL-c. Administration of curcumin also reduced MDA, TOS in skeletal muscle, hepatic TAG content and liver fat deposition.

Conclusions: Curcumin supplementation improved HFD-induced dyslipidemia, oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fasting / blood
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol
  • Curcumin