Curcumin Alters Neural Plasticity and Viability of Intact Hippocampal Circuits and Attenuates Behavioral Despair and COX-2 Expression in Chronically Stressed Rats.
Mediators Inflamm. 2017 ;2017:6280925. Epub 2017 Jan 11. PMID: 28167853
Curcumin is a major diarylheptanoid component of Curcuma longa with traditional usage for anxiety and depression. It has been known for the anti-inflammatory, antistress, and neurotropic effects. Here we examined curcumin effect in neural plasticity and cell viability. 60-channel multielectrode array was applied on organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSCs) to monitor the effect of 10 μM curcumin in long-term depression (LTD) through low-frequency stimulation (LFS) to the Schaffer collaterals and commissural pathways. Cell viability was assayed by propidium iodide uptake test in OHSCs. In addition, the influence of oral curcumin administration on rat behavior was assessed with the forced swim test (FST). Finally, protein expression levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were measured by Western blot in chronically stressed rats. Our results demonstrated that 10 μM curcumin attenuated LTD and reduced cell death. It also recovered the behavior immobility of FST, rescued the attenuated BDNF expression, and inhibited the enhancement of COX-2 expression in stressed animals. These findings indicate that curcumin can enhance postsynaptic electrical reactivity and cell viability in intact neural circuits with antidepressant-likeeffects, possibly through the upregulation of BDNF and reduction of inflammatory factors in the brain.