Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2016 May, 239(1)

Invited Review

Oxidative Stress and Cardiovascular Dysfunction Associated with Cadmium Exposure: Beneficial Effects of Curcumin and Tetrahydrocurcumin


1Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
2Faculty of Medicine, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham, Thailand
3Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Cadmium (Cd) is a non-essential heavy metal with high toxicity potential. Humans are exposed to Cd present in diet, polluted air, and cigarette smoke. Cd exposure has been associated with increased risk of chronic diseases, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and nephropathy, all of which could be attributable to dysfunctional endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Cd toxicity is correlated with increased reactive oxygen formation and depletion of antioxidants, resulting in an oxidative stress. Chelation of Cd has proved useful in the removal of the Cd burden. However, several chelating agents cause side effects in clinical usage. Recent studies have shown that the antioxidant compounds curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin can alleviate vascular dysfunction and high blood pressure caused by Cd toxicity. In chronic Cd exposure, these antioxidants protect vascular endothelium by increasing nitric oxide (NO·) bioavailability and improving vascular function. Antioxidant activity against Cd intoxication results directly and/or indirectly through free radical scavenging, metal chelation, enhanced expression of the antioxidant defense system, regulation of inflammatory enzymes, increase in NO· bioavailability, and reduction of gastrointestinal absorption and tissue Cd accumulation. This review summarizes current knowledge of Cd-induced oxidative stress and cardiovascular dysfunction and a possible protective effect conferred by the antioxidants curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin.

Key words —— cadmium; cardiovascular dysfunction; curcumin; oxidative stress; tetrahydrocurcumin


Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2016, 239, 25-38

Correspondence: Upa Kukongviriyapan, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, 123 Mitraphab Road, Muang District, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand.

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