Study Title:

Curcumin alleviates neuroinflammation, enhances hippocampal neurogenesis, and improves spatial memory after traumatic brain injury.

Study Abstract

Cognitive decline is one of the most obvious symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Previous studies have demonstrated that cognitive decline is related to substantially increased neuroinflammation and decreased neurogenesis in the hippocampus in a rat model of TBI. Using this model, we explored the role of curcumin (Cur) in ameliorating TBI-impaired spatial memory because Cur has been shown to exhibit anti-chronic-neuroinflammatory, neurogenesis-promoting, and memory-improving properties. Animals received daily Cur or vehicle treatment for 28 days after TBI and also received 50-bromodeoxyuridine(BrdU) for the first 7 days of the treatment for assaying neurogenesis. An optimal Cur dose of 30 mg/kg, selected from a range of 10-50 mg/kg, was used for the present study. Neuroinflammation was evaluated by astrocyte hypertrophy, activated microglia, and inflammatory factors in the hippocampus. Behavioral water-maze studies were conducted for 5 days, starting at 35-day post-TBI. The tropomyosin receptor kinase B (Trkb) inhibitor, ANA-12, was used to test the role of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)/ TrkB/Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway in regulating inflammation and neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Treatment with Cur ameliorated the spatial memory of TBI rats, reduced TBI-induced chronic inflammation, typified by diminished astrocyte hypertrophy, reduction in activated microglia, declined inflammatory factors, and increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus. We also found that BDNF/Trkb/PI3K/Akt signaling was involved in the effects of Cur in TBI rats. Thus, Cur treatment can ameliorate the spatial memory in a murine model of TBI, which may be attributable to decreased chronic neuroinflammation, increased hippocampal neurogenesis, and/or BDNF/Trkb/PI3K/Akt signaling.

Study Information

Brain Res Bull. 2020 Sep;162:84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2020.05.009. Epub 2020 Jun 2. PMID: 32502596.

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