Amelioration of renal lesions associated with diabetes by dietary curcumin in streptozotocin diabetic rats

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Curcumin, the coloring principle of the commonly used spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) was fed at 0.5% in the diet to streptozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar rats for 8 weeks. Renal damage was assessed by the amount of proteins excreted in the urine and the extent of leaching of renal tubular enzymes: NAG, LDH, AsAT, AlAT, alkaline and acid phosphatases. The integrity of kidney was assessed by measuring the activities of several key enzymes of the renal tissue: glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and LDH (Carbohydrate metabolism), aldose reductase and sorbitol dehydrogenase (polyol pathway), transaminases, ATPases and membrane PUFA/SFA ratio (membrane integrity). Data on enzymuria, albuminuria, activity of kidney ATPases and fatty acid composition of renal membranes in diabetic condition suggested that dietary curcumin brought about significant beneficial modulation of the progression of renal lesions in diabetes. These findings were also corroborated by histological examination of kidney sections. It is inferred that this beneficial ameliorating influence of dietary curcumin on diabetic nephropathy is possibly mediated through its ability to lower blood cholesterol levels.

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