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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Sep 21;361(2):528-32. Epub 2007 Jul 23.

Effect of curcumin on hyperglycemia-induced vascular endothelial growth factor expression in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat retina.

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National Institute of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad 500 007, India.


Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most devastating microvascular complications of long standing type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Neovascularization stimulated by hyperglycemia-mediated induction of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been implicated in the pathogenesis. Various small molecules have been investigated for their ability to inhibit angiogenesis. In this study, we evaluated whether curcumin and its dietary source turmeric can inhibit VEGF expression in strepotzotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rat retina. Diabetes was induced in 3-month-old male WNIN rats by a single intraperitoneal injection of STZ. After induction, one group of diabetic rats were fed only the AIN-93 diet and the rest of the groups were fed with AIN-93 diet containing 0.002% or 0.01% curcumin or 0.5% turmeric for a period of 8 weeks. The control rats received sham injection and fed on the AIN-93 diet. At the end of 8 weeks animals were sacrificed and retina was dissected. The VEGF expression was analyzed by both real time PCR and immunoblotting. There was an increase in VEGF expression in diabetic retina as compared to control retina at both transcript and protein level. Notably, feeding of curcumin and turmeric to diabetic rats inhibited expression of VEGF. This study highlights the importance of biologically active compounds derived from dietary agents that could be explored further for the prevention and/or treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

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