Curcumin protects heart tissue against irinotecan-induced damage in terms of cytokine level alterations, oxidative stress, and histological damage in rats

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2018 Aug;391(8):783-791. doi: 10.1007/s00210-018-1495-3. Epub 2018 May 2.


Irinotecan (CPT-11), commonly used in the treatment of many cancer types, may have several side effects that limit the use of CPT-11 in specific tissues such as the heart. In the current study, positive effects of curcumin (CRC) was determined in terms of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties against heart damage, caused by CPT-11, in rats. Rats were divided randomly into four equal groups (Control, CPT-11, CRC, and CPT-11 + CRC). CPT-11 10 mg/kg/day was administered intraperitoneally and CRC 100 mg/kg-1 was given orally. Blood and tissue samples were collected from all groups at day 30 for the detection of oxidative stress, histological changes, and cytokine levels. Results showed that CPT-11 caused dramatic changes in heart tissue for oxidative stress parameters (TBARS, SOD, CAT, GSH, and GPx levels), histological tissue damage, and cytokine levels (TNF and IL-4). CRC therapy reversed the elevated oxidative stress, histological tissue damages, and immunological changes and protected cardiac tissue against CPT-11 toxicity when given together with CPT-11.In conclusion, CPT-11 caused adverse effects on cytokine levels, histological alterations, and oxidative stress in rats. However, CRC treatment eliminated these toxic effects with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, these results suggest that CRC may play a protective role against CPT-11 toxicity in heart tissue of rats.

Keywords: Curcumin; Cytokine; Histological alterations; Irinotecan; Oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiotoxicity / drug therapy*
  • Cardiotoxicity / metabolism
  • Cardiotoxicity / pathology
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Irinotecan
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Irinotecan
  • Curcumin
  • Camptothecin