Very low dose curcumin is effective against galactose-induced cataracts in rats. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Effect of curcumin on galactose-induced cataractogenesis in rats.
Mol Vis. 2003 Jun 9;9:223-30. PMID: 12802258
PURPOSE: Curcumin, the active principle of turmeric, has been shown to have both antioxidant and hypoglycemic activity in vitro and in vivo. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of curcumin on the onset and maturation of galactose induced cataract. METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats (21 days old) were divided into 5 groups. The control group (A) received an AIN-93 diet, the galactose group (B) received 30% galactose in the diet, the test groups (C and D) received the B group diet plus 0.002% and 0.01% curcumin respectively, and group (E) received the control diet plus 0.01% curcumin, all for a period of 4 weeks. Cataract progression due to galactose feeding was monitored by slit lamp microscope and classified into 4 stages. At the end of the experiment biochemical parameters such as lipid peroxidation, aldose reductase (AR), sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH), reduced glutathione, protein content, and protein carbonyls were measured in the lens. Advanced glycated end products (AGE) and protein oxidation were measured by AGE and tryptophon fluorescence respectively. Crystallin profile was analyzed by size exclusion chromatography (HPLC). RESULTS: Slit lamp microscope observations indicated that curcumin at 0.002% (group C) delayed the onset and maturation of cataract. In contrast even though there was a slight delay in the onset of cataract at the 0.01% level (group D), maturation of cataract was faster when compared to group B. Biochemical analysis showed that curcumin at the 0.002% level appeared to exert antioxidant and antiglycating effects, as it inhibited lipid peroxidation, AGE-fluorescence, and protein aggregation. Though the reasons for faster onset and maturation of cataract in group D rats was not clear, the data suggested that under hyperglycemic conditions higher levels of curcumin (0.01%) in the diet may increase oxidative stress, AGE formation, and protein aggregation. However, feeding of curcumin to normal rats up to a 0.01% level did not result in any changes in lens morphology or biochemical parameters. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that curcumin is effective against galactose-induced cataract only at very low amounts (0.002%) in the diet. On the other hand at and above a 0.01% level curcumin seems to not be beneficial under hyperglycemic conditions, at least with the model of galactose-cataract.