Inflammatory cytokines have been demonstrated to play an important role in the induction and severity of acute pancreatitis (AP) in the recent studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of curcumin on inflammatory cytokines, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-6 in the late phase of AP. The study was conducted on 40 male Wistar Albino rats. The animals were divided randomly into four equal groups. AP was induced by the infusion of 3% sodium taurocholate into the biliopancreatic duct (in groups I and II). Starting on day 20 prior to the induction of AP, rats in group I received daily dose of 100 mg/kg of curcumin, dissolved in 9% ethanol via an intragastric tube. The same procedure was repeated for 6 days following the onset of AP. Group III was infused only on saline solution. Group IV (curcumin control group) received 9% ethanol via an intragastric tube, during the experimental period (totally 26 days). All the animals were sacrificed on day 6 after the collection of blood samples and serum TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels were determined. Tissue samples were taken from pancreas, mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, lungs, spleen and the kidneys for histopathological evaluation. Serum TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels in the group, which received curcumin (group I), were determined to be significantly lower than those of the untreated group (group II) (P < 0.05). No statistically significant difference was detected in terms of total histopathological scores in the treatment group versus untreated group. Curcumin has been shown to markedly reduce serum TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels in the late phase of AP, but failed in the prevention of tissue injury.