Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Curcumin supplementation could improve diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction associated with decreased vascular superoxide production and PKC inhibition

Sirada Rungseesantivanon1, Naris Thenchaisri2, Preecha Ruangvejvorachai3 and Suthiluk Patumraj4*

Author Affiliations

1 Inter-department of Physiology, Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

2 Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

3 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

4 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:57  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-57

Published: 14 October 2010



Curcumin, an Asian spice and food-coloring agent, is known for its anti-oxidant properties. We propose that curcumin can improve diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction through superoxide reduction.


Diabetes (DM) was induced in rats by streptozotocin (STZ). Daily curcumin oral feeding was started six weeks after the STZ injection. Twelve weeks after STZ injection, mesenteric arteriolar responses were recorded in real time using intravital fluorescence videomicroscopy. Superoxide and vascular protein kinase C (PKC-βII) were examined by hydroethidine and immunofluorescence, respectively.


The dilatory response to acetylcholine (ACh) significantly decreased in DM arterioles as compared to control arterioles. There was no difference among groups when sodium nitroprusside (SNP) was used. ACh responses were significantly improved by both low and high doses (30 and 300 mg/kg, respectively) of curcumin supplementation. An oxygen radical-sensitive fluorescent probe, hydroethidine, was used to detect intracellular superoxide anion (O2●-) production. O2●- production was markedly increased in DM arterioles, but it was significantly reduced by supplementation of either low or high doses of curcumin. In addition, with a high dose of curcumin, diabetes-induced vascular PKC-βII expression was diminished.


Therefore, it is suggested that curcumin supplementation could improve diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction significantly in relation to its potential to decrease superoxide production and PKC inhibition.