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Neurochem Res. 2014 Jul;39(7):1322-31. doi: 10.1007/s11064-014-1315-1. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

Curcumin prevents cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury via increase of mitochondrial biogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 1 Youyi Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, 400016, People's Republic of China.


Curcumin is known to have neuroprotective properties in cerebral ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. Recently, emerging evidences suggested that increased mitochondrial biogenesis enabled preventing I/R injury. Here, we sought to determinate whether curcumin alleviates I/R damage through regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis. Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to a 2-h period of right middle cerebral artery occlusion followed by 24 h of reperfusion. Prior to onset of occlusion, rats had been pretreated with either low (50 mg/kg, intraperitoneal injection) or high (100 mg/kg, intraperitoneal injection) dose of curcumin for 5 days. Consequently, we found that curcumin pretreatment enabled improving neurological deficit, diminishing infarct volume and increasing the number of NeuN-labeled neurons in the I/R rats. Accordingly, the index of mitochondrial biogenesis including nuclear respiratory factor-1, mitochondrial transcription factor A and mitochondrial number significantly down-regulated in I/R rats were reversed by curcumin pretreatment in a dose-dependent manner, and the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 presented the similar change. Taken together, our findings provided novel evidence that curcumin may exert neuroprotective effects by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis.

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