Abstract Title:

Dietary curcumin prevents ocular toxicity of naphthalene in rats.

Abstract Source:

Toxicol Lett. 2000 Jun 5;115(3):195-204. PMID: 10814889

Abstract Author(s):

U Pandya, M K Saini, G F Jin, S Awasthi, B F Godley, Y C Awasthi

Article Affiliation:

Department of Human Biological Chemistry and Genetics, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA.


Administration of naphthalene is known to cause cataract formation in rats and rabbits and naphthalene-initiated cataract is frequently used as a model for studies on senile cataract in humans. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the mechanism of naphthalene-induced cataract. Curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, a spice used in Indian curry dishes, is an effective antioxidant and is known to induce the enzymes of glutathione-linked detoxification pathways in rats. During the present studies, we have examined whether low levels of dietary curcumin could prevent naphthalene-induced opacification of rat lens. The presence of apoptotic cells in lens epithelial cells was also examined by catalytically incorporating labeled nucleotide to DNA with either Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase or by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT), which forms polymeric tail using the principle of TUNEL assay. The results of these studies demonstrated that the rats treated with naphthalene and kept on a diet supplemented with only 0.005% (w/w) curcumin had significantly less opacification of lenses as compared to that observed in rats treated only with naphthalene. Our studies also demonstrate, for the first time, that naphthalene-initiated cataract in lens is accompanied and perhaps preceded by apoptosis of lens epithelial cells and that curcumin attenuates this apoptotic effect of naphthalene.

Study Type : Animal Study

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