Turmeric, with curcumin as its
active ingredient, is a common Indian spice. A number of studies have shown that
as an antioxidant, the curcumin in turmeric is effective in treating many
ailments including diabetes. However, because of poor absorption and rapid
metabolism, curcumin can not be sufficiently used by the body in its original
In an earlier study published in BMC Diabetelogy and Metabolic Syndrome
journal, Mohamed T Abdel Aziz
and his colleagues found that a new water soluble
curcumin derivative with 3 percent curcumin (NCD) significantly increased HO-1
expression and subsequent HO-activity, significantly lowered plasma glucose and
increased plasma insulin in experimental animals with
type-1 diabetes and thus had anti-diabetic actions. Heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is
an enzyme that helps in cellular defense against tissue injuries. It is also
well known for its antioxidant boosting properties and anti-apoptotic (anti
In this study, published in the latest issue of the same journal, the
researchers set out to evaluate the effect of NCD on signaling mechanisms
involved in thickening of the heart muscles (cardiomyocyte hypertrophy) in type-1
diabetes with cardiomyopathy. They also wanted to find out if HO-1 has any role
to play in this action.
is a complex
mechanism of communication for coordinating cell actions in which the cells
perceive and respond to their microenvironment. When this 'information
goes wrong, it may result in diseases such as cancer, immunity
diseases, and diabetes.
This study was performed at the
Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. The researchers divided 140 adult
rats into control group, controls receiving NCD, diabetic, diabetic receiving
NCD, diabetic receiving pure curcumin, diabetic receiving HO inhibitor, zinc
protoporphyrin IX (ZnPP IX) and diabetic receiving NCD and ZnPP IX.
After 45 days, cardiac
physiologic parameters, plasma glucose, insulin, glycated hemoglobin (GHb),
HO-1 gene expression and HO activity in pancreas and cardiac tissues were
assessed. Gene expression of p300 was also studied.
Results showed that -
Oral NCD did not change the
plasma glucose levels in the control group while it significantly increased the
plasma insulin in the control group. 'Therefore, curcumin may have an effect on
, say the researchers.
Diabetic rats injected with HO-1
inhibitor ZnPP demonstrated significantly higher glucose levels and lower
insulin levels proving that curcumin increases HO-1 expression, and suggesting
that the hypoglycemic action of curcumin may be, in part, mediated through
Oral supplementation of NCD
significantly increased HO-1 gene expression and activity in the cardiac tissue
of the diabetic group.
characterized by thickening of heart muscles resulting in diastolic dysfunction
especially in left ventricle. This study found that 'curcumin-treated diabetic
rats demonstrated reduced cardiac hypertrophy, improved chamber compliance and
enhanced systolic function when compared with untreated diabetic counterparts'.
A protein p300 affects the gene
expression responsible for thickening of heart muscles. The researchers found
that treatment with p300 blocker curcumin prevented the gene expressions that
cause cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in type-1 diabetes.
The researchers believe that
increase in p300 gene expression in hearts of diabetic rats may be due to
hyperglycemia. Several signaling mechanisms activated by hyperglycemia may
stimulate the activation of p300.
Since there was no significant
difference in p300 gene expression in the diabetic group receiving NCD when
compared with the diabetic group receiving NCD combined with HO inhibitor, they
deduced that curcumin decreased the p300 gene expression in cardiac tissue by a
direct effect rather than by inducing HO-1 expression.
'HO-1 gene expression and HO activity were significantly increased
in diabetic heart and pancreas. Diabetes up-regulated expression of
cardiomyopathy markers and p300. However, NCD and curcumin
prevented diabetes-induced up-regulation of these parameters and improved left
ventricular function. The effect of the NCD was better than the same dose of
curcumin' concluded the study.
Abdel Aziz MT, et al. Signaling mechanisms
of a water soluble curcumin derivative in experimental type 1 diabetes with
cardiomyopathy. BMC Diabetelogy and Metabolic Syndrome 2013 5:13