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Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2013;6(11):2342-2349

Original Article
Protective effect of Curcumin on chemotherapy-induced intestinal dysfunction

Qinghua Yao, Xiaozheng Ye, Lu Wang, Jianzhong Gu, Ting Fu, Yun Wang, Yuebiao Lai, Yuqi Wang, Xian Wang, Hongchuan Jin, Yong Guo

Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China;
Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China;
Department of Medical Oncology, Institute of Clinical Science, Sir Runrun Shaw Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou,
Zhejiang Province, China

Received August 27, 2013; Accepted September 21, 2013; Epub October 15, 2013; Published November 1, 2013

Abstract: Objective: Chemotherapy is one of most important treatments for human cancers. However, side effects such as intestine
dysfunction significantly impaired its clinical efficacy. This study aimed to investigate the protective effect of Curcumin on chemotherapy-induced
intestinal dysfunction in rats. Methods: Sixty healthy Wistar rats were randomly divided into control group (normal saline), 5-FU group and
5-FU+Curcumin group. The weight, serum level of endotoxin, DAO and D-lactate were determined. The pathological change of intestinal
mucosa structure was studied under light microscopy and electron microscopy. The expression of Bax, Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 were assessed
by immunohistochemical staining. Results: The Curcumin intragastrically administrated obviously reduced 5-FU-induced weight-loss. 5-FU
induced dramatic increase of serum endotoxin, D-lactate and D-Amino-Acid Oxidase (DAO) that were significantly reversed by Curcumin
treatment. Meanwhile, 5-FU-induced-damage to intestinal mucosa structure was markedly recovered by Curcumin. The expression of Bax and
Caspase-3 were dramatically increased after 5-FU treatment (p<0.01) and Curcumin treatment significantly reduced Bax expression (p<0.05)
but had only a moderate effect on reducing caspase-3 expression (p>0.05). Interestingly, Bcl-2 expression was low in control group but
increased after 5-FU treatment (p>0.05) and Curcumin treatment further stimulated Bcl-2 expression (p<0.05). Conclusions: Curcumin can
significantly reverse chemotherapy-induced weight-loss, increase of serum endotoxin, D-lactate and DAO and damage to intestinal mucosa
structure. Curcumin also reduced the expression of pro-apoptotic Bax but stimulated anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 to attenuate 5-FU-induced apoptosis
of intestinal epithelial cells. The clinical administration of Curcumin may improve chemotherapy-induced intestinal dysfunction, thus increasing
the clinical efficacy of chemotherapy. (IJCEP1308066).

Keywords: Curcumin, chemotherapy-induced, intestinal dysfunction, Bax, Bcl-2, 5-FU, ultrastructures

Address correspondence to: Dr. Yong Guo, Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medical
University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Tel: +86 57186620316; E-mail: guoyong1047@163.com