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Curcumin improves expression of SCF/c-kit through attenuating oxidative stress and NF-κB activation in gastric tissues of diabetic gastroparesis rats

Qi-Hui Jin1, Hong-Xia Shen2, Hui Wang3, Qi-Yang Shou4 and Qiang Liu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Geriatric Medicine, The Second affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

2 Department of Radiotherapy, The Second affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

3 Department of Science and Education, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

4 Department of Animal experimental center, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

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Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 2013, 5:12  doi:10.1186/1758-5996-5-12

Published: 1 March 2013



Diabetes mellitus is associated with many kinds of complications. Recent studies have shown that oxidative stress and inflammatory reactions have critical roles in the pathogenesis of diabetic gastroparesis. Curcumin is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In the present study, we investigated the effect of curcumin on diabetic gastric motility in a Sprague Dawley rat model of type 1 diabetes mellitus.


Male SD rats were divided into a control group, a control group receiving curcumin, a diabetic group, and a diabetic group receiving curcumin. Diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin. Curcumin (150 mg/kg) was given intragastrically for 6 weeks, and blood glucose levels and body weights were measured. Stomachs were excised for analysis of gastric emptying rates, and levels of oxidative stress. NF-κB, I-κB, and stem cell factor (SCF)/c-kit protein levels were assessed by western blot analysis, while the apoptosis of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) was assessed by TUNEL staining.


Curcumin-treated diabetic rats showed significantly improved gastric emptying rates [(59.4 ± 7.5)%] compared with diabetic rats [(44.3 ± 5.7)%], as well as decreased levels of MDA [21.4 ± 1.8 (nmol/mg) vs 27.9 ± 2.1 (nmol/mg)], and increased SOD activity [126.2 ± 8.8 (units/mg) vs 107.9 ± 7.5 (units/mg)]. On the other hand, the gastric emptying level in the control group was not significantly different from that in the control group receiving curcumin treatment. In addition, curcumin-treated diabetic rats showed significantly increased levels of SCF/c-kit protein in stomach tissues, inhibited I-κB degradation and NF-κB activation, and reduced ICC apoptosis index [(26.2 ± 4.1)% vs (47.5 ± 6.2)%], compared with the diabetic group.


Curcumin treatment improved gastric emptying by blocking the production of oxidative stress, abolishing NF-κB signal transduction and enhancing expression of SCF/c-kit in rats with diabetic gastroparesis.

Curcumin; Diabetic gastroparesis; Oxidative stress; NF-κB; Stem cell factor/c-kit; Interstitial cells of Cajal