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Parasitol Res. 2012 Jun;110(6):2491-9. doi: 10.1007/s00436-011-2790-9. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Curcumin treatment provides protection against Trypanosoma cruzi infection.

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Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461, NY, USA.


Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, causes an acute myocarditis and chronic cardiomyopathy. The current therapeutic agents for this disease are not always effective and often have severe side effects. Curcumin, a plant polyphenol, has demonstrated a wide range of potential therapeutic effects. In this study, we examined the effect of curcumin on T. cruzi infection in vitro and in vivo. Curcumin pretreatment of fibroblasts inhibited parasite invasion. Treatment reduced the expression of the low density lipoprotein receptor, which is involved in T. cruzi host cell invasion. Curcumin treatment of T. cruzi-infected CD1 mice reduced parasitemia and decreased the parasitism of infected heart tissue. This was associated with a significant reduction in macrophage infiltration and inflammation in both the heart and liver; moreover, curcumin-treated infected mice displayed a 100% survival rate in contrast to the 60% survival rate commonly observed in untreated infected mice. These data are consistent with curcumin modulating infection-induced changes in signaling pathways involved in inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. These data suggest that curcumin and its derivatives could be a suitable drug for the amelioration of chagasic heart disease.

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