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Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound possessing interesting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pro-perties and has the ability to induce the defensive protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). The objective of this study was to investigate whether curcumin protects against cold storage-mediated damage of human adult atrial myoblast cells (Girardi cells) and to assess the potential involvement of HO-1 in this process. Girardi cells were exposed to either normothermic or hypothermic conditions in Celsior preservation solution in the presence or absence of curcumin. HO-1 protein expression and heme oxygenase activity as well as cellular damage were by re-warming. In additional experiments, an in-hibitor of heme oxygenase activity (tin protopor-phyrin IX, 10 M) or siRNA for HO-1 were used to investigate the participation of HO-1 as a mediator of curcumin- induced effects. Treatment with curcumin produced a marked induction of cardiac HO-1 in normothermic condition but cells were less re-sponsive to the polyphenolic compound at low temperature. Cold storage-induced damage was markedly reduced in the presence of curcumin and HO-1 contributed to some extent to this effect. Thus, curcumin added to Celsior preservation solution effectively prevents the damage caused by cold- storage; this effect involves the protective enzyme HO-1 but also other not yet identified mechanisms.