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J Surg Res. 2009 Aug;155(2):195-200. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2008.09.011. Epub 2008 Oct 10.

Inhibitory effect of curcumin on early liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy in rats.

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  • 1Department of General, Visceral, and Transplant Surgery, Charité Campus Virchow, Berlin, Germany.



Curcumin (Cur) is a nontoxic, hepatoprotective antioxidant. Recent investigations have demonstrated a protective effect of curcumin pretreatment during cold ischemia of hepatocytes, but its impact on liver regeneration per se has not been investigated so far.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 6 per group) underwent sham operation, 70% partial hepatectomy (PH), or PH with curcumin application (100 mg per kg bodyweight per day) starting 48 h before surgery. Rats were sacrificed 24 h after surgery. Liver regeneration was analyzed by measurement of relative liver weight, mitotic-index, bromo-deoxy-uridine (BrdU)-incorporation and Ki-67 expression.


The relative liver weight 24 h after surgery was similar in the PH groups with and without curcumin treatment. Also, a comparably high number of Ki-67 positive proliferating hepatocytes was detected in both groups. In contrast, the mitotic index in the untreated PH group (83 +/- 20 mitosis/2000 hepatocytes) was significantly higher than in the curcumin treated group (21 +/- 6). The BrdU labeling index was slightly higher in the curcumin treated group with PH (24% +/- 5%) than in the untreated group (16% +/- 2%). The hepatocyte density as marker of cellular hypertrophy was significantly lower in the curcumin group (474 +/- 23) than in the untreated group (609 +/- 22).


Curcumin inhibits cell cycle progression during normal liver regeneration in rats, predominantly at the level of the G2/M transition point. However, the total liver mass and function was not significantly altered. Nevertheless, application of curcumin in conditions of high physiological cell proliferation should be performed with caution.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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