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Protective Effects of Curcumin against Oxidative Damage on Skin Cells In Vitro: Its Implication for Wound Healing

Phan, Toan-Thang MD; See, Patrick BSc; Lee, Seng-Teik FAMS, FRCS; Chan, Sui-Yung PhD

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: November 2001 - Volume 51 - Issue 5 - p 927-931
Original Articles

Background  Curcumin, isolated from turmeric, has been known to possess many pharmacologic properties. It has been proven to exhibit remarkable anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Turmeric curcumin may be a good potential agent for wound healing.

Methods  To further understand its therapeutic mechanisms on wound healing, the antioxidant effects of curcumin on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hypoxanthine-xanthine oxidase induced damage to cultured human keratinocytes and fibroblasts were investigated. Cell viability was assessed by colorimetric assay and quantification of lactate dehydrogenase release.

Results  Exposure of human keratinocytes to curcumin at 10 μg/mL showed significant protective effect against hydrogen peroxide. Interestingly, exposure of human dermal fibroblasts to curcumin at 2.5 μg/mL showed significant protective effects against hydrogen peroxide. No protective effects of curcumin on either fibroblasts or keratinocytes against hypoxanthine-xanthine oxidase induced damage were found in our present studies.

Conclusion  The findings indicate that curcumin indeed possessed powerful inhibition against hydrogen peroxide damage in human keratinocytes and fibroblasts.

From the Department of Plastic Surgery/National Burns Centre, Singapore General Hospital (T.-T.P., P.S., S.-T.L.), and the Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore (S.-Y.C.), Singapore.

Submitted for publication October 31, 2000.

Accepted for publication April 9, 2001.

Address for reprints: Toan-Thang Phan, MD, Department of Plastic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore 169608; email:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.