The Journal of surgical research

Curcumin inhibits the increase of labile zinc and the expression of inflammatory cytokines after traumatic spinal cord injury in rats.

PMID 24484908


The present study aimed to investigate the effects of curcumin on the levels of spinal cord labile zinc (Zn) and inflammatory cytokines in rats after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to laminectomy at T8-T9 and compression with a vascular clip. There were three groups: (a) sham group; (b) SCI group; and (c) SCI + curcumin group. We measured spinal labile Zn by N-(6-methoxy-8-quinolinyl)-4-methylbenzenesulfonamide (TSQ) fluorescence staining, inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 1β, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor α by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, hindlimb locomotion function by Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan rating, spinal cord edema by wet dry weight method, and apoptosis by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling analysis. The results showed that SCI caused a significant increase in labile Zn and inflammatory cytokines in the injured rat spinal cord. Treatment with curcumin after SCI markedly downregulated the levels of these agents and ameliorated SCI-induced hindlimb locomotion deficits, spinal cord edema, and apoptosis. Curcumin treatment attenuates the increase of labile Zn and the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the injured spinal cord, and this may be a mechanism whereby curcumin improves the outcome after SCI.