Curcumin pretreatment protects against acute acrylonitrile-induced oxidative damage in rats

Xing Guangwei, Lu Rongzhu, Xu Wenrong, Wang Suhua, Zhao Xiaowu, Wang Shizhong, Zhang Ye, Michael Aschner, Shrinivas K. Kulkarni, Mahendra Bishnoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Acrylonitrile (AN) is widely used in the manufacturing of fibers, plastics and pharmaceuticals. Free radical-mediated lipid peroxidation is implicated in the toxicity of AN. The present study was designed to examine the ability of curcumin, a natural polyphenolic compound, to attenuate acute AN-induced lipid peroxidation in the brain and liver of rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were orally administered curcumin at doses of 0 (olive oil control), 50 or 100 mg/kg bodyweight daily for 7 consecutive days. Two hours after the last dose of curcumin, rats received an intraperitoneal injection of 50 mg AN/kg bodyweight. Acute exposure to AN significantly increased the generation of lipid peroxidation products, reflected by high levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) both in the brain and liver. These increases were accompanied by a significant decrease in reduced glutathione (GSH) content and a significant reduction in catalase (CAT) activity in the same tissues. No consistent changes in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were observed between the control and AN-treatment groups in both tissues. Pretreatment with curcumin reversed the AN-induced effects, reducing the levels of MDA and enhancing CAT activity and increasing reduced GSH content both in the brain and liver. Furthermore, curcumin effectively prevented AN-induced decrease in cytochrome c oxidase activity in both liver and brain. These results establish that curcumin pretreatment has a beneficial role in mitigating AN-induced oxidative stress both in the brains and livers of exposed rats and these effects are mediated independently of cytochrome P450 2E1 inhibition. Accordingly, curcumin should be considered as a potential safe and effective approach in attenuating the adverse effects produced by AN-related toxicants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-146
Number of pages7
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 12 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Acrylonitrile
  • Curcumin
  • Cytochrome c oxidase
  • Lipid peroxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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