Ischemia-reperfusion injury is a significant problem following reperfusion treatment for ovarian torsion. It is generally caused by reactive oxygen species-induced damage. Antioxidant agents, such as curcumin, may protect ovaries from this adverse effect. The aim of the present randomized, controlled study was to evaluate the short-term protective effect of curcumin on a rat model of ovarian ischemia-reperfusion injury. A total of 30 female Wistar albino rats, weighing 160-230 g, were divided into 2 groups depending upon the time of unilateral, left ovary ischemia/reperfusion (group 1, 2 h ischemia/2 h reperfusion and group 2, 4 h ischemia/4 h reperfusion). These groups were subdivided into 3 subgroups (sham, control and curcumin). The sham subgroups were not subjected to ischemia/reperfusion. Control and curcumin subgroups were performed under ischemia for 2 h plus 2 h reperfusion or 4 h ischemia plus 4 h reperfusion. Curcumin, 200 mg/kg, was intraperitoneally administered simultaneously with reperfusion to the curcumin subgroups. Serum nitric oxide (NO), NO synthase (NOS), xanthine oxidase (XO), total antioxidant status (TAS), total oxidant status (TOS) and histological scores were measured and compared between subgroups. For group 1, no significant differences were observed between NO, NOS, XO, TAS or TOS. The left ovary histological grade was significantly higher in the control and curcumin subgroups compared with the sham subgroup (P=0.036). For group 2, TOS was significantly higher in the control group compared with the sham and curcumin groups (P=0.023). However, TAS was also significantly higher in the control subgroup compared with the other 2 subgroups (P=0.005). Left ovary histological grade was significantly higher in the control and curcumin subgroups compared with the sham subgroup (P=0.038). No significant differences were observed between NO, NOS or XO between the group 2 subgroups. The results showed that curcumin exerted no major significant protective effect on ischemia-reperfusion injury in the rat ovary.