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Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species


Wound healing consists of an orderly progression of events that re-establish the integrity of the damaged tissue. Several natural products have been shown to accelerate the healing process. The present investigation was undertaken to determine the role of curcumin on changes in collagen characteristics and antioxidant property during cutaneous wound healing in rats. Full-thickness excision wounds were made on the back of rat and curcumin was administered topically. The wound tissues removed on 4th, 8th and 12th day (post-wound) were used to analyse biochemical and pathological changes. Curcumin increased cellular proliferation and collagen synthesis at the wound site, as evidenced by increase in DNA, total protein and type III collagen content of wound tissues. Curcumin treated wounds were found to heal much faster as indicated by improved rates of epithelialisation, wound contraction and increased tensile strength which were also confirmed by histopathological examinations. Curcumin treatment was shown to decrease the levels of lipid peroxides (LPs), while the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), activities were significantly increased exhibiting the antioxidant properties of curcumin in accelerating wound healing. Better maturation and cross linking of collagen were observed in the curcumin treated rats, by increased stability of acid-soluble collagen, aldehyde content, shrinkage temperature and tensile strength. The results clearly substantiate the beneficial effects of the topical application of curcumin in the acceleration of wound healing and its antioxidant effect.

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Correspondence to Lonchin Suguna.

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Both the authors have contributed equally towards this paper.

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Panchatcharam, M., Miriyala, S., Gayathri, V.S. et al. Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. Mol Cell Biochem 290, 87–96 (2006).

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  • dermal wound healing
  • curcumin
  • antioxidant
  • collagen
  • medicinal plants
  • tensile strength