Global Cerebral Ischemia (GCI) causes neuronal damage with subsequent neurological and cognitive impairments. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties, which makes it a potential candidate for improving GCI-induced impairments. This study aimed to investigate the effects of curcumin on the neurological and memory deficits, as well as spatial neuronal distribution in the CA1 region after GCI in rats.
56 Sprague-Dawley male rats were randomly assigned into 4 groups of sham (n=14), control (n=14), curcumin 50 mg/kg (n=14), and curcumin 100 mg/kg (n=14). Each group was divided into the two subgroups of short-term (7 days) and long-term (28 days) treatment periods. The neurological severity score (NSS), passive avoidance task, and the traction test were performed at postoperative days of 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 21, and 28. The novel object recognition test and Voronoi tessellation were carried out on days 7 and 28 after GCI.
Curcumin 100 mg/kg significantly decreased neurological severity score on postoperative days of 7 and 28 compared with the control (P<0.001) and curcumin 50 mg/kg groups (P<0.05-P<0.001). Also, curcumin 100 mg/kg significantly increased step-through latency times on postoperative days of 3-28 and 14-28 compared with the control (P<0.05-P<0.001) and curcumin 50 mg/kg groups (P<0.01-P<0.001). Moreover, it increased the novelty preference index during the novel object recognition test in the 28-day treatment subgroup after GCI. Curcumin (100 mg/kg) could maintain the neuronal aggregation in the CA1 region after GCI at a level near to what is generally observed in normal rats.
Curcumin could improve memory and neurological deficits and restore irregular neuronal distribution in the CA1 region after GCI in a time-dependent manner, and its higher dose was more effective than its lower dose. Curcumin may have beneficial effects on reducing brain complications after ischemia.