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A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial of Curcumin in Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Mahidol University Identifier:
First received: September 11, 2007
Last updated: December 20, 2012
Last verified: August 2004

Background Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited ocular disorder associated with a mutation in mtDNA . The common manifestation is visual loss which caused by the respiratory chain enzymes complex dysfunction resulting in increased oxidative stress enzymes production.

Purpose To determine whether curcumin which is an antioxidant agent is beneficial to the patients with 11778 LHON mutation.

Material and Method Seventy patients with 11778 LHON mutation were randomly treated with oral curcumin (500 mg/day) and placebo for 1 year. The visual acuity, computerized visual field, electrophysiologic parameters and oxidative stress enzymes in plasma were compared before and after treatment at 3, 6, and 12 months interval.

Condition Intervention Phase
Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber
Drug: curcumin
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial of Curcumin in Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON)

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Mahidol University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • visual outcome [ Time Frame: 1 year ]

Estimated Enrollment: 70
Study Start Date: May 2005
Study Completion Date: December 2007
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: 2
  1. curcumin
  2. placebo
Drug: curcumin
curcumin 250 mg twice a day in the first group. placebo 1 capsule twice a day in the second group.

Detailed Description:

Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited disease that is characterized by a simultaneous or more common sequential bilateral loss of central vision, which typically occurs during the teenager years or early adulthood. The disease may be progressive and the patients eventually become blind. In contrast to blindness in patients caused by congenital diseases, the patients who develop blindness caused by LHON will have more trouble in their life because they previously had better vision. Although LHON is associated with mitochondrial DNA mutation at a variable nucleotide position but no certain mechanism of optic nerve injury has been found. It has been postulated that a defect in a complex of respiratory chain enzyme which is caused by mitochondrial DNA dysfunction, results in an increase of free radical substances that interfere with optic nerve function in LHON. Some antioxidant substances have been used to decrease the progression of visual impairment. However, there have been few therapeutic trials for LHON.

Curcumin, a component of tumeric, which comes from the root Curcumin longa has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activities. There is some evidence which suggests that curcumin contributes to the in vitro removal of free radical gradients in thalassemic serum and to a clinical improvement of thalassemic patients. We propose a randomized controlled trial study of curcumin, which is an antioxidant substance, for LHON. This study will provide not only an insight into the therapeutic efficacy of curcumin, a kind of Thai herb, for LHON but also the development of future therapeutic strategies to prevent blindness.


Ages Eligible for Study:   8 Years and older   (Child, Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • LHON patient with 11778 point mutation

Exclusion Criteria:

  • LHON patient with other point mutation
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00528151

Professor Wanicha Chuenkongkaew
Bangkok, Thailand, 10700
Sponsors and Collaborators
Mahidol University
Principal Investigator: Professor Wanicha L Chuenkongkaew, MD Mahidol University
  More Information Identifier: NCT00528151     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 123/2547
Study First Received: September 11, 2007
Last Updated: December 20, 2012

Keywords provided by Mahidol University:
Curcumin, LHON, antioxidant, visual outcome

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Optic Nerve Diseases
Optic Atrophy
Optic Atrophy, Hereditary, Leber
Optic Atrophies, Hereditary
Pathological Conditions, Anatomical
Cranial Nerve Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Eye Diseases
Heredodegenerative Disorders, Nervous System
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Eye Diseases, Hereditary
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Mitochondrial Diseases
Metabolic Diseases
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antirheumatic Agents
Antineoplastic Agents
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action processed this record on April 28, 2017