Curcumin has the potential to alterations caused by ischemia

by Aaradhana Natarajan ’20

Caption: Curcumin is present in turmeric, which is found throughout South and Southeast Asia.

Ischemia can result when blood flow is severely reduced. The lack of sufficient oxygen and glucose causes cells to inflame as the body tries to regain homeostasis. Dr. Glaura Fernandes Teixeira de Alcântara and researchers at Estacio of Juazeiro da Norte in Brazil studied the neuroprotective ability of curcumin for global cerebral ischemia in the hippocampus.

The researchers used a rat model with four variations of the independent variable. Three had induced ischemia; one was treated with 25 mg/kg or curcumin, the second with 50 mg/kg, and the third was left as an untreated negative control group. The fourth group was a non-ischemic positive control. The groups were treated for either two days or a week following induction before being euthanized. Ischemia was induced in the rats by occluding, then re-oxidizing, the left carotid artery. Fluoro-jade was used to stain the neurons as they degenerated.

The histological data showed reduced neuronal viability in the untreated rats. Changes were noted in the CA1, CA3, TC and DG areas, which had reductions of 52, 45, 69 and 55% respectively, compared to the non-ischemic control group. The ischemic groups that underwent curcumin treatment had profiles that more closely resembled those of the non-ischemic control group. In fact, neuron viability demonstrated almost complete recovery in the DG and CA3 areas. ANOVA and Newman-Keuls tests showed that the positive control group had a CA3 neuronal viability of 14.36, with the 50 mg dosed group recovering to 14.40. The DG neuronal viability of the same group recovered to 15.80, close to the positive control value of 15.64.

The next step would be to study curcumin’s effectiveness in restoring neuron viability in humans who have suffered strokes, as well as the effectiveness of different forms of administration.



  1. G. de Alcântara, Curcumin reverses neurochemical, histological and immuno-histochemical alterations in the model of global brain ischemia. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 7, 14-23 (2017). doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.10.001
  2. 2. Image retrieved from:

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