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Mutat Res. 2006 Dec 10;611(1-2):96-103. Epub 2006 Sep 14.

Protective effect of curcumin on gamma-radiation induced DNA damage and lipid peroxidation in cultured human lymphocytes.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar 608 002, Tamil Nadu, India.


The present work is aimed at evaluating the radioprotective effect of curcumin, a naturally occurring phenolic compound on gamma-radiation induced toxicity. The cellular changes were estimated by using lipid peroxidative indices like thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), the antioxidants superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and reduced glutathione (GSH). The DNA damage was analysed by using cytokinesis blocked micronucleus assay and dicentric aberration (DC). The gamma-radiation at different doses (1, 2 and 4Gy) were found to significantly increase micronuclei (MN), DC frequencies and TBARS level whereas the levels of GSH and antioxidant enzymes were significantly decreased. The maximum damage to lymphocytes was observed at 4Gy irradiation. Curcumin pretreatment (1, 5 and 10microg/ml) significantly decreased the frequency of MN and DC. The levels of TBARS decreased and activities of SOD, CAT and GPx significantly increased along with GSH levels. At 1Gy irradiation all the concentrations of curcumin (1, 5 and 10microg/ml) significantly protected the lymphocytes from radiation damage. At 2Gy irradiation, 5 and 10microg/ml of curcumin showed significant radioprotection. Since the highest damage was observed at 4Gy irradiation both 1 and 5microg/ml of curcumin pretreatment were not sufficient to protect the lymphocytes from radiation damage but 10microg/ml of curcumin significantly protected the cultured lymphocytes from radiation damage. Thus, pretreatment with curcumin gives protection to lymphocytes against gamma-radiation induced cellular damage.

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