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Curcumin Ameliorates Functional and Structural Abnormalities in Cisplatin-induced Neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is one of the major side effects of cisplatin; however, effective treatments are lacking. Curcumin is a polyphenol found in the root of Curcuma longa and has been shown neuroprotective against several neurological diseases. Nevertheless, its effects on cisplatin neuropathy remain unclear. This study aimed to clarify this issue by inducing neuropathy in the rats with intraperitoneal injection of cisplatin 2 mg/kg twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks. Curcumin 200 mg/kg/day was given by gavage to a group of cisplatin-treated rats during these five weeks. The results showed that cisplatin induced thermal hypoalgesia in the 5(th) week which could be prevented by curcumin. In the 5(th) and 8(th) weeks, sciatic motor nerve conduction velocity was reduced in the cisplatin compared with the control groups. Curcumin significantly attenuated this deficit. Morphometric analysis of L4 dorsal root ganglia from the cisplatin group revealed nuclear and nucleolar atrophy including loss of neurons in the 8(th) week. These alterations were significantly blocked by curcumin. Moreover, curcumin also ameliorated the reduced myelin thickness in the sciatic nerve of cisplatin-treated rats. Taken together, our findings suggest the favorable effects of curcumin on both functional and structural abnormalities in cisplatin neuropathy. Future studies are needed to clarify the exact underlying mechanisms.

Source: Agthong S, Kaewsema A, Charoensub T.

Combination of Boswellia and Curcumin in Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), which affects about 20 million Americans, is expected to rise in incidence because of the increase in diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. CKD is characterized by a chronic inflammatory state, with elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in all stages of the disease. Patients with CKD also exhibit lower levels of plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and other antioxidant enzymes. In most patients, CKD is not diagnosed early when the disease is asymptomatic, which is of concern because of the relationship between the systemic inflammation of the disease and the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In addition to pharmaceuticals such as statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, complementary and alternative medicine therapies used to treat CKD are gaining interest in the scientific community. The authors conducted a study to evaluate the inflammatory and antioxidant responses of 8 weeks of curcumin (from turmeric; Curcuma longa) and boswellia (Indian frankincense; Boswellia serrata) supplementation in patients with mild-to-moderate CKD.

Source: Moreillon JJ, Bowden RG, Deike E, et al. The use of an anti-inflammatory supplement in patients with chronic kidney disease. J Complement Integr Med. 2013;10(1):1-10. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2012-0011.

Targeting inflammation-induced obesity and metabolic diseases by curcumin and other nutraceuticals.

Extensive research within the past two decades has revealed that obesity, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, and other chronic diseases, is a proinflammatory disease. Several spices have been shown to exhibit activity against obesity through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Among them, curcumin, a yellow pigment derived from the spice turmeric (an essential component of curry powder), has been investigated most extensively as a treatment for obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases. Curcumin directly interacts with adipocytes, pancreatic cells, hepatic stellate cells, macrophages, and muscle cells. There, it suppresses the proinflammatory transcription factors nuclear factor-kappa B, signal transducer and activators of transcription-3, and Wnt/beta-catenin, and it activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma and Nrf2 cell-signaling pathways, thus leading to the downregulation of adipokines, including tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6, resistin, leptin, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and the upregulation of adiponectin and other gene products. These curcumin-induced alterations reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and other symptoms linked to obesity. Other structurally homologous nutraceuticals, derived from red chili, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and ginger, also exhibit effects against obesity and insulin resistance.

SourceAggarwal BB. Annu Rev Nutr. 2010 Aug 21;30:173-99.


Curcumin supplementation lowers TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 secretion in high glucose-treated cultured monocytes and blood levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6, MCP-1, glucose, and glycosylated hemoglobin in diabetic rats.

This study examined the hypothesis that curcumin supplementation decreases blood levels of IL-6, MCP-1, TNF-alpha, hyperglycemia, and oxidative stress by using a cell-culture model and a diabetic rat model. U937 monocytes were cultured with control (7 mM) and high glucose (35 mM) in the absence or presence of curcumin (0.01-1 microM) at 37 degrees C for 24 h. Diabetes was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by injection of streptozotocin (STZ) (i.p., 65 mg/kg BW). Control buffer, olive oil, or curcumin (100 mg/kg BW) supplementation was administered by gavage daily for 7 weeks. Blood was collected by heart puncture with light anesthesia. Results show that the effect of high glucose on lipid peroxidation, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, and TNF-alpha secretion was inhibited by curcumin in cultured monocytes. In the rat model, diabetes caused a significant increase in blood levels of IL-6, MCP-1, TNF-alpha, glucose, HbA(1), and oxidative stress, which was significantly decreased in curcumin-supplemented rats. Thus, curcumin can decrease markers of vascular inflammation and oxidative stress levels in both a cell-culture model and in the blood of diabetic rats. This suggests that curcumin supplementation can reduce glycemia and the risk of vascular inflammation in diabetes.

SourceJain SK, Rains J, Croad J, Larson B, Jones K. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2009 Feb;11(2):241-9.
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Curcumin inhibits adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and angiogenesis and obesity in C57/BL mice.

Angiogenesis is necessary for the growth of adipose tissue. Dietary polyphenols may suppress growth of adipose tissue through their antiangiogenic activity and by modulating adipocyte metabolism. We investigated the effect of curcumin, the major polyphenol in turmeric spice, on angiogenesis, adipogenesis, differentiation, apoptosis, and gene expression involved in lipid and energy metabolism in 3T3-L1 adipocyte in cell culture systems and on body weight gain and adiposity in mice fed a high-fat diet (22%) supplemented with 500 mg curcumin/kg diet for 12 wk. Curcumin (5-20 micromol/L) suppressed 3T3-L1 differentiation, caused apoptosis, and inhibited adipokine-induced angiogenesis of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Supplementing the high-fat diet of mice with curcumin did not affect food intake but reduced body weight gain, adiposity, and microvessel density in adipose tissue, which coincided with reduced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor VEGFR-2. Curcumin increased 5'AMP-activated protein kinase phosphorylation, reduced glycerol-3-phosphate acyl transferase-1, and increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 expression, which led to increased oxidation and decreased fatty acid esterification. The in vivo effect of curcumin on the expression of these enzymes was also confirmed by real-time RT-PCR in subcutaneous adipose tissue. In addition, curcumin significantly lowered serum cholesterol and expression of PPARgamma and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha, 2 key transcription factors in adipogenesis and lipogenesis. The curcumin suppression of angiogenesis in adipose tissue together with its effect on lipid metabolism in adipocytes may contribute to lower body fat and body weight gain. Our findings suggest that dietary curcumin may have a potential benefit in preventing obesity.

SourceEjaz A, Wu D, Kwan P, Meydani M. J Nutr. 2009 May;139(5):919-25.

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Dietary curcumin significantly improves obesity-associated inflammation and diabetes in mouse models of diabesity.

Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, and both conditions are now recognized to possess significant inflammatory components underlying their pathophysiologies. We tested the hypothesis that the plant polyphenolic compound curcumin, which is known to exert potent antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects, would ameliorate diabetes and inflammation in murine models of insulin-resistant obesity. We found that dietary curcumin admixture ameliorated diabetes in high-fat diet-induced obese and leptin-deficient ob/ob male C57BL/6J mice as determined by glucose and insulin tolerance testing and hemoglobin A1c percentages. Curcumin treatment also significantly reduced macrophage infiltration of white adipose tissue, increased adipose tissue adiponectin production, and decreased hepatic nuclear factor-kappaB activity, hepatomegaly, and markers of hepatic inflammation. We therefore conclude that orally ingested curcumin reverses many of the inflammatory and metabolic derangements associated with obesity and improves glycemic control in mouse models of type 2 diabetes. This or related compounds warrant further investigation as novel adjunctive therapies for type 2 diabetes in man.

SourceWeisberg SP, Leibel R, Tortoriello DV. Endocrinology. 2008 Jul;149(7):3549-58.
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Curcumin-induced suppression of adipogenic differentiation is accompanied by activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling.

Curcumin, a polyphenol found in the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, improves obesity-associated inflammation and diabetes in obese mice. Curcumin also suppresses adipocyte differentiation, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we used 3T3-L1 cells to investigate the details of the mechanism underlying the anti-adipogenic effects of curcumin. Curcumin inhibited mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) (ERK, JNK, and p38) phosphorylation that was associated with differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells into adipocytes. During differentiation, curcumin also restored nuclear translocation of the integral Wnt signaling component beta-catenin in a dose-dependent manner. In parallel, curcumin reduced differentiation-stimulated expression of CK1alpha, GSK-3beta, and Axin, components of the destruction complex targeting beta-catenin. Accordingly, quantitative PCR analysis revealed that curcumin inhibited the mRNA expression of AP2 (mature adipocyte marker) and increased the mRNA expression of Wnt10b, Fz2 (Wnt direct receptor), and LRP5 (Wnt coreceptor). Curcumin also increased mRNA levels of c-Myc and cyclin D1, well-known Wnt targets. These results suggest that the Wnt signaling pathway participates in curcumin-induced suppression of adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells.

Source: Ahn J, Lee H, Kim S, Ha T. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2010 Jun;298(6):C1510-6.

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Adiponectin: action, regulation and association to insulin sensitivity.

Adiponectin is a novel adipocyte-specific protein, which, it has been suggested, plays a role in the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Although it circulates in high concentrations, adiponectin levels are lower in obese subjects than in lean subjects. Apart from negative correlations with measures of adiposity, adiponectin levels are also reduced in association with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Visceral adiposity has been shown to be an independent negative predictor of adiponectin. Thus, most features of the metabolic syndrome's negative associations with adiponectin have been shown. Adiponectin levels seem to be reduced prior to the development of type 2 diabetes, and administration of adiponectin has been accompanied by lower plasma glucose levels as well as increased insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, reduced expression of adiponectin has been associated with some degree of insulin resistance in animal studies indicating a role for hypoadiponectinaemia in relation to insulin resistance. The primary mechanisms by which adiponectin enhance insulin sensitivity appears to be through increased fatty acid oxidation and inhibition of hepatic glucose production. Adiponectin levels are increased by thiazoledinedione treatment, and this effect might be important for the enhanced insulin sensitivity induced by thiazolidinediones. In contrast, adiponectin levels are reduced by pro-inflammatory cytokines especially tumour necrosis factor-alpha. In summary, adiponectin in addition to possible anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic effects appears to be an insulin enhancer, with potential as a new pharmacologic treatment modality of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

SourceLihn AS, Pedersen SB, Richelsen B. Obes Rev. 2005 Feb;6(1):13-21.


Adiponectin inhibits LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation and IL-6 production and increases PPARgamma2 expression in adipocytes.

Obesity and insulin resistance are often associated with lower circulating adiponectin concentrations and elevated serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and/or tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Adiponectin suppresses activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) in aortic endothelial cells and porcine macrophages. Accordingly, we hypothesized that adiponectin is an anti-inflammatory hormone and suppresses activation of NF-kappaB in adipocytes. Because peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma2 (PPARgamma2) antagonizes the transcriptional activity of NF-kappaB, we determined whether adiponectin alters PPARgamma2 expression in pig adipocytes. In addition, we determined whether interferon-gamma alters the expression of PPARgamma2 in the presence or absence of adiponectin. Primary adipocytes from pig subcutaneous adipose tissue were treated with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 10 microg/ml) and adiponectin (30 microg/ml), and nuclear extracts were obtained for gel shift assays to assess nuclear localization of NF-kappaB. Whereas LPS induced an increase in NF-kappaB activation, adiponectin suppressed both NF-kappaB activation and the induction of IL-6 expression by LPS (P<0.05). Similar results were obtained in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. In addition, adiponectin antagonized LPS-induced increase in TNF-alpha mRNA expression (P<0.05) and tended (P<0.065) to diminish its accumulation in the culture media in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Adiponectin also induced an upregulation of PPARgamma2 mRNA (P<0.05). Although IFN-gamma did not reduce the basal expression of PPARgamma2, it suppressed PPARgamma2 induction by adiponectin (P<0.05). These findings indicate that adiponectin may be a local regulator of inflammation in the adipocyte and adipose tissue via its regulation of the NF-kappaB and PPARgamma2 transcription factors.

SourceAjuwon KM, Spurlock ME. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. 2005;288:R1220–R1225.


Adiponectin, an adipocyte-derived plasma protein, inhibits endothelial NF-kappaB signaling through a cAMP-dependent pathway.


Among the many adipocyte-derived endocrine factors, we found an adipocyte-derived plasma protein, adiponectin, that was decreased in obesity. We recently demonstrated that adiponectin inhibited tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-induced expression of endothelial adhesion molecules and that plasma adiponectin level was reduced in patients with coronary artery disease (CIRCULATION: 1999;100:2473-2476). However, the intracellular signal by which adiponectin suppressed adhesion molecule expression was not elucidated. The present study investigated the mechanism of modulation for endothelial function by adiponectin.


The interaction between adiponectin and human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) was estimated by cell ELISA using biotinylated adiponectin. HAECs were preincubated for 18 hours with 50 microg/mL of adiponectin, then exposed to TNF-alpha (10 U/mL) or vehicle for the times indicated. NF-kappaB-DNA binding activity was determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. TNF-alpha-inducible phosphorylation signals were detected by immunoblotting. Adiponectin specifically bound to HAECs in a saturable manner and inhibited TNF-alpha-induced mRNA expression of monocyte adhesion molecules without affecting the interaction between TNF-alpha and its receptors. Adiponectin suppressed TNF-alpha-induced IkappaB-alpha phosphorylation and subsequent NF-kappaB activation without affecting other TNF-alpha-mediated phosphorylation signals, including Jun N-terminal kinase, p38 kinase, and Akt kinase. This inhibitory effect of adiponectin is accompanied by cAMP accumulation and is blocked by either adenylate cyclase inhibitor or protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor.


These observations raise the possibility that adiponectin, which is naturally present in the blood stream, modulates the inflammatory response of endothelial cells through cross talk between cAMP-PKA and NF-kappaB signaling pathways.

SourceOuchi N, Kihara S, Arita Y, Okamoto Y, Maeda K, et al. Circulation. 2000;102:1296–1301.

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The antihyperglycemic effect of curcumin in high fat diet fed rats. Role of TNF-α and free fatty acids.

This study was conducted to investigate the effect of curcumin, obtained from Curcuma longa, in comparison with rosiglitazone on the progression of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the mechanisms underlying this effect. Insulin resistance and T2DM was induced in male Sprague Dawley rats by high fat diet (HFD) feeding for 60 and for 75 days representing two regimens of the study, protection and treatment. Prophylactic oral administration of curcumin (80 mg/kg), rosiglitazone (1 mg/kg), their combination, or vehicle (in control groups) was started along with HFD feeding in different groups. Treatment is achieved by oral administration of the previously mentioned agents in the last 15 days of HFD feeding after induction of insulin resistance and T2DM in rats. Curcumin showed an anti-hyperglycemic effect and improved insulin sensitivity, and this action may be attributed at least in part to its anti-inflammatory properties as evident by attenuating TNF-α levels in HFD fed rats, and its anti-lipolytic effect as evident by attenuating plasma free fatty acids. The curcumin effects are comparable to those of rosiglitazone, which indicate that they may act similarly. Finally we can say that, curcumin could be a beneficial adjuvant therapy in patients with T2DM.

SourceEl-Moselhy MA, Taye A, Sharkawi SS, El-Sisi SF, Ahmed AF. Food Chem Toxicol. 2011;49(5):1129-40.


Curcumin improves insulin resistance in skeletal muscle of rats.


Curcumin has been reported to lower plasma lipids and glucose in diabetic rats, and to decrease body weight in obese rats, which may partly be due to increased fatty acid oxidation and utilization in skeletal muscle.


Diabetic rats induced by high-fat diet plus streptozotocin (STZ, 30 mg/kg BW) were fed a diet containing 50, 150, or 250 mg/kg BW curcumin for 7 wk. Curcumin dose-dependently decreased plasma lipids and glucose and the dose 150 mg/kg BW appeared to be adequate to produce a significant effect. Curcumin supplementation reduced glucose and insulin tolerance measured as areas under the curve. L6 myotubes were treated with palmitate (0.25 mmol/L) in the presence of different levels of curcumin for 24 h in our in vitro experiment. Curcumin at 10 μmol/L was adequate to cause a significant increase in 2-deoxy-[(3)H]d-glucose uptake by L6 myotubes. Curcumin up-regulated expression of phosphorylated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), CD36, and carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1, but down-regulated expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase 4 and phosphorylated glycogen synthase (GS) in both in vivo and in vitro studies. Moreover, curcumin increased phosphorylated acetyl COA carboxylase in L6 myotubes. The effects of curcumin on these enzymes except for GS were suppressed by AMPK inhibitor, Compound C. LKB1, an upstream kinase of AMPK, was activated by curcumin and inhibited by radicicol, an LKB1 destabilizer.


Curcumin improves muscular insulin resistance by increasing oxidation of fatty acid and glucose, which is, at least in part, mediated through LKB1-AMPK pathway.

SourceNa LX, Zhang YL, Li Y, et al. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011;21(7):526-33.


Effect of curcumin supplementation on blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose homeostasis related enzyme activities in diabetic db/db mice.

We investigated the effect of curcumin on insulin resistance and glucose homeostasis in male C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice and their age-matched lean non-diabetic db/+ mice. Both db/+ and db/db mice were fed with or without curcumin (0.02%, wt/wt) for 6 wks. Curcumin significantly lowered blood glucose and HbA 1c levels, and it suppressed body weight loss in db/db mice. Curcumin improved homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance and glucose tolerance, and elevated the plasma insulin level in db/db mice. Hepatic glucokinase activity was significantly higher in the curcumin-supplemented db/db group than in the db/db group, whereas glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase activities were significantly lower. In db/db mice, curcumin significantly lowered the hepatic activities of fatty acid synthase, beta-oxidation, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme reductase, and acyl-CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase. Curcumin significantly lowered plasma free fatty acid, cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations and increased the hepatic glycogen and skeletal muscle lipoprotein lipase in db/db mice. Curcumin normalized erythrocyte and hepatic antioxidant enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase, catalase, gluthathione peroxidase) in db/db mice that resulted in a significant reduction in lipid peroxidation. However, curcumin showed no effect on the blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose regulating enzyme activities in db/+ mice. These results suggest that curcumin seemed to be a potential glucose-lowering agent and antioxidant in type 2 diabetic db/db mice, but had no affect in non-diabetic db/+ mice.

SourceSeo KI, Choi MS, Jung UJ, et al. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008; 52(9):995-1004.


Curcumin prevents experimental diabetic retinopathy in rats through its hypoglycemic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic potential of oral curcumin (1 g/kg body weight of rat) in the prevention and treatment of streptozotocin-induced diabetic retinopathy in Wistar albino rats.


The treatment was carried out for a period of 16 weeks in diabetic rats and evaluated for hyperglycemic, antioxidant (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione), and inflammatory parameters (tumor necrosis factor-α, vascular endothelial growth factor). Rat fundus was observed weekly to see any visible changes in the retina, such as tortuosity and dilation of retinal vessels. Histological changes were evaluated by transmission electron microscopy.


Treatment with curcumin showed significant hypoglycemic activity compared with the diabetic group. Retinal glutathione levels were decreased by 1.5-fold, and antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase and catalase, showed >2-fold decrease in activity in the diabetic group; on the other hand, curcumin positively modulated the antioxidant system. Proinflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-α and vascular endothelial growth factor, were elevated >2-fold in the diabetic retinae, but prevented by curcumin. Transmission electron microscopy showed degeneration of endothelial cell organelles and increase in capillary basement membrane thickness in diabetic retina, but curcumin prevented the structural degeneration and increase in capillary basement membrane thickness in the diabetic rat retinae.


Based on the above results, it may be concluded that curcumin may have potential benefits in the prevention of retinopathy in diabetic patients.

SourceGupta SK, Kumar B, Nag TC, et al. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2011;27(2):123-30.


Neuroprotective role of curcumin in the cerebellum of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.


Chronic hyperglycaemia in diabetes involves a direct neuronal damage caused by intracellular glucose which leads to altered neurotransmitter functions and reduced motor activity. The present study investigated the effect of curcumin in the functional regulation of muscarinic and alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, insulin receptors, acetylcholine esterase and Glut3 in the cerebellum of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats.


All studies were done in the cerebellum of male Wistar rats. Radioreceptor binding assays were done for total muscarinic, M(1) and M(3) receptors using specific ligands, and the gene expression was also studied using specific probes.


Our results showed an increased gene expression of acetylcholine esterase, Glut3, muscarinic M1, M3, alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine and insulin receptors in the cerebellum of diabetic rats in comparison to control. Scatchard analysis of total muscarinic, M1 and M3 receptors showed an increased binding parameter, B(max) in diabetic rats compared to control. Curcumin and insulin inhibited diabetes-induced elevation in the gene expression of acetylcholine esterase, Glut3, insulin and cholinergic receptors in the cerebellum of diabetic rats.


Our studies suggest that curcumin plays a vital role in regulating the activity of cholinergic and insulin receptors and mechanism of glucose transportation through Glut3, which results in normalizing the diabetes-mediated cerebellar disorders. Thus, curcumin has a significant role in a therapeutic application for the prevention or progression of diabetic complications in the cerebellum.

SourcePeeyush KT, Gireesh G, Jobin M, Paulose CS. Life Sci. 2009;85(19-20):704-10.