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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Apr;105:76-82. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Neurobiological and pharmacological validity of curcumin in ameliorating memory performance of senescence-accelerated mice.

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Dept. of Anatomy, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou 325035, Zhejiang Province, China.


The senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8 mice) is known as a neurodegenerative model and may show age-related deficits of cognition. Curcumin, a major active component of spic turmeric, could increase the capacity of learning and memory in the aged rat. However, it is not known whether curcumin could improve cognitive deficits in SAMP8 mice. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of curcumin on the learning and memory of SAMP8 mice and its possible mechanisms. Subjects were randomly divided into four groups: SAMR1 mice, SAMP8 mice and two SAMP8 mice groups treated, intragastrically, with curcumin at the dose of 20 and 50mg/kg per day, respectively. After 25days, spatial memory, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, p-calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (p-CaMKII) and p-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit 1 (p-NMDAR1) expression in the hippocampus of mice were examined by using the Morris water maze, biochemical analysis, immunohistochemistry and Western blot. Compared with SAMR1 mice, SAMP8 mice had longer escape latency, higher MDA content, lower SOD activity in the hippocampus, and lower intensity of p-CaMKII in the stratum lucidum of hippocampal CA3 and p-NMDAR1 expression in the hippocampal membrane fraction. Both 20 and 50mg/kg curcumin administration significantly shortened the escape latencies and decreased the hippocampal MDA content in the SAMP8 mice. 50mg/kg curcumin administration significantly ameliorated the hippocampal SOD activity, and increased the intensity of p-CaMKII in the stratum lucidum of hippocampal CA3 and p-NMDAR1 expression in the hippocampal membrane fraction of the SAMP8 mice. The present study demonstrated that curcumin treatment could attenuate cognitive deficits of SAMP8 mice in a dose-dependent manner by decreasing the oxidative stress and improving the expression of p-CaMKII and p-NMDAR1 in the hippocampus. Thus treatment with curcumin may have a potential therapeutic agent for aging-related cognitive dysfunctions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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