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ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 15

The role of curcumin in liver diseases

Antonio Riccardo Buonomo
Riccardo Scotto
Salvatore Nappa
Michele Arcopinto
Andrea Salzano
Alberto Maria Marra
Roberta D’Assante
Emanuela Zappulo
Guglielmo Borgia
Ivan Gentile

Arch Med Sci 2019; 15 (6): 1608–1620
Online publish date: 2018/02/20
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Liver diseases are among the most important health problems worldwide. In developed countries, overnutrition and alcohol abuse represent the major causes of liver disease, whereas infectious diseases – especially from viruses and parasites – are the main cause in Africa and Asia. Moreover, mortality rates from liver diseases are increasing rather than declining worldwide [1]. About 2% of the world’s population is chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) [2], while the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the global population is estimated to be 3.7% [3]: these viruses are the most common underlying agents in infection-related cirrhosis.
The availability of a new class of direct antivirals agents (DAA) against HCV is probably going to change the epidemiology of HCV infection. Results from randomized clinical trials (RCT) testing DAA showed a sustained viral response (SVR) rate up to 100% [2], thus making realizable the prospective of HCV global eradication [4]. However, little is known about the evolution of liver disease after viral eradication has been achieved; the complete regression of hepatic fibrosis is probably unachievable [5].
Liver fibrosis, and the subsequent cirrhosis, are the consequences of chronic liver injury due to several causes: viral cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, toxic stress (e.g. drugs, alcohol) and metabolic damage [6, 7].
Curcumin is the most important curcuminoid of turmeric, and it has been identified as the main factor responsible for its biological activities [8], including potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects as well as the ability to modulate several signaling mechanisms [9–12]. Oxidative stress plays an important role in many chronic diseases and in carcinogenesis [13–15]. Several studies have shown that curcuminoid compounds can act as free-radical scavengers by reducing lipid peroxidation mediated by free radicals [16–18]. One of the most important discoveries in this field has been the curcumin-mediated suppression of nuclear factor B (NF-B), which has a key role in triggering the inflammatory cascade in most chronic illnesses [19–21]. Importantly, NF-B-dependent gene products also prevent apoptosis and promote cell proliferation, invasion and angiogenesis [22–26].
This review will focus on curcumin’s role in preventing liver damage progression in different liver diseases, by interfering not only with inflammation and...

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