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Planta Med. 2014 Mar;80(4):249-54. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1351074. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Curcumin: therapeutical potential in ophthalmology.

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Department of Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Nephrology, Geriatric, and Anesthetic Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Department of Sense Organs, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin", Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.


Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the main curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric (Curcuma longa). In the last 50 years, in vitro and in vivo experiments supported the main role of polyphenols and curcumin for the prevention and treatment of many different inflammatory diseases and tumors.The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antitumor properties of curcumin are due to different cellular mechanisms: this compound, in fact, produces different responses in different cell types. Unfortunately, because of its low solubility and oral bioavailability, the biomedical potential of curcumin is not easy to exploit; for this reason more attention has been given to nanoparticles and liposomes, which are able to improve curcumin's bioavailability. Pharmacologically, curcumin does not show any dose-limiting toxicity when it is administered at doses of up to 8 g/day for three months. It has been demonstrated that curcumin has beneficial effects on several ocular diseases, such as chronic anterior uveitis, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and dry eye syndrome. The purpose of this review is to report what has so far been elucidated about curcumin properties and its potential use in ophthalmology.

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