Curcumin as a potential protective compound against cardiac diseases
Curcumin, which was first used 3000 years ago as an anti-inflammatory agent, is a well-known bioactive compound derived from the active ingredient of turmeric (Curcuma longa). Previous research has demonstrated that curcumin has immense therapeutic potential in a variety of diseases via anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic, and anti-inflammatory pathways. Cardiac diseases are the leading cause of mortality worldwide and cause considerable harm to human beings. Numerous studies have suggested that curcumin exerts a protective role in the human body whereas its actions in cardiac diseases remain elusive and poorly understood. On the basis of the current evidence, we first give a brief introduction of cardiac diseases and curcumin, especially regarding the effects of curcumin in embryonic heart development. Secondly, we analyze the basic roles of curcumin in pathways that are dysregulated in cardiac diseases, including oxidative stress, apoptosis, and inflammation. Thirdly, actions of curcumin in different cardiac diseases will be discussed, as will relevant clinical trials. Eventually, we would like to discuss the existing controversial opinions and provide a detailed analysis followed by the remaining obstacles, advancement, and further prospects of the clinical application of curcumin. The information compiled here may serve as a comprehensive reference of the protective effects of curcumin in the heart, which is significant to the further research and design of curcumin analogs as therapeutic options for cardiac diseases.