The experimental and epidemiological evidence have shown that consumption of diets rich in plant foods, especially those with large concentrations of bioactive compounds found in fruits and vegetables, has properties of health maintenance and less risk of developing chronic diseases. However, the biochemical and molecular mechanisms responsible for the protective effects are not yet completely understood. Curcumin has been extensively investigated in clinical trials and preclinical studies, for its possible protective effects in lung diseases, neurological diseases, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune and numerous chronic diseases. The effects of simultaneous exposure to transition metals and dietary antioxidants, including curcumin, with the aim of reducing the toxicity of metals is a possible strategy for health promotion which still needs more research. The neurotoxicity and nephrotoxicity constitute the best studied and understood aspects of mercury toxicity, however the hepatotoxicity also presents itself as a relevant phenomenon. The objective of this study is to evaluate the possible protective effects of curcumin on hepatotoxicity induced by mercury in human HepG2 cells, with the analysis of genomic instability by comet assay, quantification of mercury and GSH / GSSH in the cells, cell viability and expression of genes associated with the induction of DNA damage by PCR-array.
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