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J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun 13;112(2):292-9. Epub 2007 Mar 13.

Effects of curcumin in treatment of experimental pulmonary fibrosis: a comparison with hydrocortisone.

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School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China.


To compare curcumin with hydrocortisone for treating bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis (BLMPF), four groups of rats were injected with 1.5 mg/kg bleomycin intratracheally. Then the Group HC rats were treated with three injections of 2mg/kg hydrocortisone i.p.; Group CH and CL rats, respectively, were orally given 500 or 250 mg/kg curcumin daily; and Group PC rats were given deionized water alone. After 28 days of treatment, lung samples were examined by H-E staining, Masson's staining and immunohistochemical analyses and pulmonary type I collagen (Col-I), inducible nitric oxide synthetase (iNOS) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) were determined by Western blotting and real-time RT PCR analyses. The results showed that (1) Group PC rats had histopathological characteristics of BLMPF with significant increase in their protein/mRNA expressions of Col-I (+114%/+173%), iNOS (+146%/+523%) and TGF-beta1 (+476%/+527%) (P<0.01); (2) in Group HC, CH and CL rats, protein/mRNA expressions of Col-I (-39%/-52%, -31%/-57%, -33%/-58%), iNOS (-31%/-51%, -31%/-79%, -31%/-47%) and TGF-beta1 (-64%/-78%, -75%/-74%, -81%/-79%) were significantly lower than Group PC (P<0.05); (3) except for levels of TGF-beta1 protein, there was no significant difference among Group CH, CL and HC rats (P>0.05). It suggests that curcumin may play a similar role as hydrocortisone in preventing BLMPF.

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