With more than 350 million people
living with diabetes globally, it has become one of the most researched
disorders of the time. Evidence also shows that complications of diabetes are
associated with oxidative stress due to generation of free radicals in the
body, especially the reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is an enzyme that catalyzes the
degradation of heme (iron containing component of hemoglobin) to produce
biliverdin, iron, and carbon monoxide. Earlier studies have shown that HO-1
helps in cellular defense against a number of tissue injuries, which means
up-regulation of this enzyme helps to counteract the adverse change that would
destabilize the equilibrium in the tissue. It is also well known for its
antioxidant boosting properties and anti-apoptotic (anti cell-death) actions.
Curcumin has been reported to induce HO-1 expression and protect the cell
against oxidative stress.
Turmeric, a spice widely used in
Indian cuisine, has curcumin as its active ingredient. Many studies have shown
the efficacy of curcumin as an antioxidant and as a therapeutic agent for
number of ailments including diabetes. However, because of poor absorption and
rapid metabolism, curcumin can not be sufficiently used by the body.
So, Mohamed T Abdel Aziz and his colleagues used a new
water soluble curcumin derivative (Patent pending PCT/EG2010/000008) called NCD
to evaluate the anti-diabetic effects and effects on diabetes-induced ROS
generation and oxidative degradation of lipids in type-1 diabetes.
They used this new derivative containing 3 percent
curcumin on 50 female experimental animals for 45 days although only 46 animals
remained after 45 days. The animals were grouped 10 each into -
control group receiving curcumin derivative,
diabetic group receiving curcumin derivative, and
diabetic group receiving curcumin derivative and HO
The study results published in the journal Diabetology
& Metabolic Syndrome, revealed that -
Significant lowering of the plasma glucose and increase
in the plasma insulin was observed in the diabetic group treated with NCD.
NCD significantly decreased the mean plasma cholesterol,
LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
NCD significantly increased the plasma HDL cholesterol
Treatment with NCD significantly increased HO-1
expression and subsequent HO-activity.
To determine whether the action of curcumin is mediated by
inducing HO-1, the researchers administered the HO inhibitor (ZnPP) to the
group of diabetic rats receiving oral curcumin derivative. The group showed
significant increase in the plasma glucose level and a significant decrease in
insulin levels when compared to the other two diabetic groups, suggesting that
the hypoglycemic action of curcumin may be, in part, due to HO-1 induction.
The researchers concluded that 'NCD appears to improve the
lipid profile in diabetic rats by lowering total cholesterol, LDL, and
triglycerides, while raising HDL levels. It is believed that curcumin exerts
its cholesterol lowering actions by modulating cholesterol absorption,
degradation, or elimination, rather than through an antioxidant mechanism. NCD
also improves oxidative status, protects and enhances endogenous defenses
directly proved by decreasing lipid peroxides (malondialdehyde) in pancreas
Abdel Aziz MT, et al. Effect of novel water soluble
curcumin derivative on experimental type- 1 diabetes mellitus (short term
study). Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2012 Jul 4;4(1):30.