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Microvasc Res. 2016 Jul;106:117-27. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2015.12.008. Epub 2015 Dec 12.

Curcumin by down-regulating NF-kB and elevating Nrf2, reduces brain edema and neurological dysfunction after cerebral I/R.

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International Ph.D. Program in Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand.
Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand.
Center of Excellence for Microcirculation, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand. Electronic address:



Oxidation, inflammation, and apoptosis are three critical factors for the pathogenic mechanism of cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Curcumin exhibits substantial biological properties via anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation and anti-apoptotic effects; however, the molecular mechanism underlying the effects of curcumin against cerebral I/R injury remains unclear.


To investigate the effects of curcumin on cerebral I/R injury associated with water content, infarction volume, and the expression of nuclear factor-kappa-B (NF-κB) and nuclear factor-erythroid-related factor-2 (Nrf2).


Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO, 1-hour occlusion and 24-hour reperfusion) was performed in male Wistar rats (n=64) as a cerebral I/R injury model. In the MCAO+CUR group, the rats were administered curcumin (300mg/kg BW, i.p.) at 30min after occlusion. The same surgical procedures were performed in SHAM rats without MCAO occlusion. At 24h post-operation, the parameters, including neurological deficit scores, blood brain barrier (BBB) disruption, water content, and infarction volume, were determined. Brain tissue NF-κB and Nrf2 expression levels were assayed through immunohistochemistry.


Compared with the SHAM group, BBB disruption, neurological deficit, and increased brain water content and infarction volume were markedly demonstrated in the MCAO group. NF-κB expression was enhanced in the MCAO group. However, in the MCAO+CUR group, the upregulation of Nrf2, an anti-oxidation related protein, was consistent with a significant decline in the water content, infarction volume, and NF-κB expression.


The protective effects of curcumin against cerebral I/R injury reflect anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation and anti-apoptotic activities, resulting in the elevation of Nrf2 and down-regulation of NF-κB.


Curcumin; Ischemia/reperfusion; Middle cerebral artery occlusion; Nuclear factor-erythroid-related factor-2; Nuclear factor-kappa-B

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