Humans are exposed to a number of toxic elements in the environment. Cadmium, widely used in industry, is a great environmental health problem of both humans and animals. Effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation have been postulated to be major contributors to cadmium-exposure related disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of curcumin on oxidative stress in rats exposed to cadmium. Curcumin was administered orally (600 mg/kg body weight). After 24 days, significant increases in methemoglobin percentage (metHb%), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration and hemolysis test were observed in cadmium exposed rats compared to control group (P < 0.05), while GSH concentration showed insignificant change. Curcumin treatment of cadmium exposed rats significantly lowered metHb%, while significantly increased oxyhemoglobin percentage (HbO2%), compared to cadmium alone group (P < 0.05). Also curcumin treatment significantly increased GPx activity of cadmium exposed rats as compared to cadmium alone group (P < 0.05). Curcumin treatment of cadmium exposed rats lowered MDA concentration and hemolysis percentage by 10 and 9%, respectively. The findings of this study suggest that curcumin elevated the GPx activity of cadmium exposed rats and had ameliorative effect on lipid peroxidation and erythrocytes hemolysis. Moreover, the results of multi-component spectrophotometric analysis suggest that curcumin treatment of lead exposed rats lowered the levels of inactive metHb level and elevated the level of active HbO2. Curcumin may exert its protective actions against cadmium-induced hematotoxicity in rats possibly through its antioxidant mechanisms and may have future therapeutic relevance.
Key words: Cadmium, curcumin, oxidative stress, erythrocytes, hemolysis, Hb-derivatives, rats.
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