Curcumin, the golden spice in treating cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) cause the largest mortality worldwide, and much attention has been focused to unravel the mechanisms and optimize the treatment regimens. Curcumin is an important bioactive component of turmeric that has been widely applied as traditional medicine to prevent and treat various diseases in some countries. Recent studies have demonstrated its potent activities in modulating multiple signaling pathways associated with cellular growth, proliferation, survival, inflammation and oxidative stress. The cardiovascular protective properties of curcumin in CVDs have been fully illustrated in numerous studies. In this review, we first briefly introduce the medicinal history of curcumin. Secondly, we systematically analyze the preclinical studies of curcumin in CVDs such as cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, drug-induced cardiotoxicity, myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, stroke and diabetic cardiovascular complications. The potential molecular targets of curcumin are also summarized. Thirdly, the clinical trials of curcumin in CVDs are overviewed and discussed. Finally, we discuss the therapeutic utility of derivatives of curcumin, and highlight existing problems of curcumin as an effective drug lead in treating CVDs.