The Anti-Inflammatory Compound Curcumin Enhances Locomotor and Sensory Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury in Rats by Immunomodulation.
Int J Mol Sci. 2016 ;17(1). Epub 2015 Dec 31. PMID: 26729105
Lucia Machova Urdzikova
Well known for its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammation properties, curcumin is a polyphenol found in the rhizome of Curcuma longa. In this study, we evaluated the effects of curcumin on behavioral recovery, glial scar formation, tissue preservation, axonal sprouting, and inflammation after spinal cord injury (SCI) in male Wistar rats. The rats were randomized into two groups following a balloon compression injury at the level of T9-T10 of the spinal cord, namely vehicle- or curcumin-treated. Curcumin was applied locally on the surface of the injured spinal cord immediately following injury and then given intraperitoneally daily; the control rats were treated with vehicle in the same manner. Curcumin treatment improved behavioral recovery within the first week following SCI as evidenced by improved Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) test and plantar scores, representing locomotor and sensory performance, respectively. Furthermore, curcumin treatment decreased glial scar formation by decreasing the levels of MIP1α, IL-2, and RANTES production and by decreasing NF-κB activity. These results, therefore, demonstrate that curcumin has a profound anti-inflammatory therapeutic potential in the treatment of spinal cord injury, especially when given immediately after the injury.