Purpose: Diabetic nephropathy is a serious complication of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and delaying the development of diabetic nephropathy in patients with diabetes mellitus is very important. In this study, we investigated inflammation, oxidative stress, and lipid metabolism to assess whether curcumin ameliorates diabetic nephropathy. Materials and Methods: Animals were divided into three groups: Long-Evans-Tokushima-Otsuka rats for normal controls, Otsuka- Long-Evans-Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats for the diabetic group, and curcumin-treated (100 mg/kg/day) OLETF rats. We measured body and epididymal fat weights, and examined plasma glucose, adiponectin, and lipid profiles at 45 weeks. To confirm renal damage, we measured albumin-creatinine ratio, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and malondialdehyde (MDA) in urine samples. Glomerular basement membrane thickness and slit pore density were evaluated in the renal cortex tissue of rats. Furthermore, we conducted adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling and oxidative stress-related nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) signaling to investigate mechanisms of lipotoxicity in kidneys. Results: Curcumin ameliorated albuminuria, pathophysiologic changes on the glomerulus, urinary MDA, and urinary SOD related with elevated Nrf2 signaling, as well as serum lipid-related index and ectopic lipid accumulation through activation of AMPK signaling. Conclusion: Collectively, these findings indicate that curcumin exerts renoprotective effects by inhibiting renal lipid accumulation and oxidative stress through AMPK and Nrf2 signaling pathway.
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