A rat model of depression has been recently developed using exogenous corticosterone (CORT) administration. This study aimed to examine the antidepressant-like effect and the possible mechanisms of curcumin in a CORT-induced depression model in rats. The results showed that 3-week CORT injections caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test. Repeated CORT injections also significantly decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of the rats. Treatment of the rats with curcumin significantly suppressed the depression-like behavior and the decrease in brain BDNF levels induced by the repeated CORT injections. The results suggest that curcumin produces an antidepressant-like effect in CORT-treated rats, which is possibly mediated by increasing BDNF expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex.
Huang Z, Zhong XM, Li ZY, Feng CR, Pan AJ, Mao QQ. Curcumin reverses corticosterone-induced depressive-like behavior and decrease in brain BDNF levels in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2011 April College of Pharmacy, Zhejiang Chinese Medicine University, Hangzhou 310053, Zhejiang, China.