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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Oct;96(4):378-85. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.06.009. Epub 2010 Jul 6.

Neuroprotective effects of the polyphenolic antioxidant agent, Curcumin, against homocysteine-induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress in the rat.

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Neuroscience Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University, M.C., P.O. Box 19615-1178, Tehran, Iran.


Aging is the major risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases and oxidative stress is involved in the pathophysiology of these diseases. In this study, the possible antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of the polyphenolic antioxidant compound, Curcumin against homocysteine (Hcy) neurotoxicity was investigated. Curcumin (5 and 50mg/kg) was injected intraperitoneally once daily for a period of 10 days beginning 5 days prior to Hcy (0.2 micromol/microl) intrahippocampal injection in rats. Biochemical and behavioral studies, including passive avoidance learning and locomotor activity tests were studied 24h after the last Curcumin or its vehicle injection. We detected Malondialdehyde (MDA) and Super oxide anion (SOA) in rats' hippocampi. Results indicated that Hcy could induce lipid peroxidation and increase MDA and SOA levels in rats' hippocampi. Additionally, Hcy impaired memory retention in passive avoidance learning test. However, Curcumin treatment decreased MDA and SOA levels significantly as well as improved learning and memory in rats. Histopathological analysis also indicated that Hcy could decrease hippocampus cell count and Curcumin inhibited this toxic effect. These results suggest that Hcy may induce lipid peroxidation in rats' hippocampi and polyphenol treatment (Curcumin) improved learning and memory deficits by protecting the nervous system against Hcy toxicity.

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