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Curcumin improves early functional results after experimental spinal cord injury

Abstract

Background

Curcumin is a polyphenol extracted from the rhizome of Curcuma longa and well known as a multifunctional drug with anti-oxidative, anticancerous, and anti-inflammatory activities. The aim of the study was to evaluate and compare the effects of the use of the curcumin and the methylprednisolone sodium succinate (MPSS) functionally, biochemically, and pathologically after experimental spinal cord injury (SCI).

Method

Forty rats were randomly allocated into five groups. Group 1 was performed only laminectomy. Group 2 was introduced 70-g closing force aneurysm clip injury. Group 3 was given 30 mg/kg MPSS intraperitoneally immediately after the trauma. Group 4 was given 200 mg/kg of curcumin immediately after the trauma. Group 5 was the vehicle, and immediately after trauma, 1 mL of rice bran oil was injected. The animals were examined by inclined plane score and Basso–Beattie–Bresnahan scale 24 h after the trauma. At the end of the experiment, spinal cord tissue samples were harvested to analyze tissue concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and catalase (CAT) activity and pathological evaluation.

Findings

Curcumin treatment improved neurologic outcome, which was supported by decreased level of tissue MDA and increased levels of tissue GSH-Px, SOD, and CAT activity. Light microscopy results also showed preservation of tissue structure in the treatment group.

Conclusions

This study showed the neuroprotective effects of curcumin on experimental SCI model. By increasing tissue levels of GSH-Px, SOD, and CAT, curcumin seems to reduce the effects of injury to the spinal cord, which may be beneficial for neuronal survival.

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Correspondence to Berker Cemil.

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Comment

This study is mounted on a template used for investigations similar to this one looking for factors associated with secondary spinal cord injury and potential remedies to prevent it. In this line of work, this article demonstrates that, for this small number of laboratory animals, curcumin seems to elicit a neuroprotective effect against secondary injury in the aftermath of trauma. However, the results obtained have a degree of impact similar to the ones granted by the use of steroids, and these auspicious notes do not necessarily apply to the human.

Manuel Cunha e Sa

Almada, Portugal

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Cemil, B., Topuz, K., Demircan, M.N. et al. Curcumin improves early functional results after experimental spinal cord injury. Acta Neurochir 152, 1583–1590 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00701-010-0702-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00701-010-0702-x

Keywords

  • Curcumin
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Neuroprotection
  • Oxygen-free radical
  • Spinal cord injury