Journal of neurotrauma

Neurological recovery and antioxidant effects of curcumin for spinal cord injury in the rat: a network meta-analysis and systematic review.

PMID 25141070


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition affecting young, healthy individuals worldwide. Existing agents have inadequate therapeutic efficacy, and some are associated with side effects. Our objective is to summarize and critically assess the neurological recovery and antioxidant effects of curcumin for treatment of SCI in rat models. PubMed, Embase, and Chinese databases were searched from their inception date to February 2014. Two reviewers independently selected animal studies that evaluated neurological recovery and antioxidant effects of curcumin, compared to placebo, in rats with SCI, extracted data, and assessed the methodological quality. A pair-wise analysis and a network meta-analysis were performed. Eight studies with adequate randomization were selected and included in the systematic review. Two studies had a higher methodological quality. Overall, curcumin appears to significantly improve neurological function, as assessed using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) locomotor rating scale (four studies, n=132; pooled mean difference [MD]=3.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.40-4.45; p=0.04), in a random-effects model and decrease malondialdehyde (MDA) using a fixed-effects model (four studies, n=56; pooled MD=-1.00; 95% CI=-1.59 to -0.42; p=0.00008). Effect size, assessed using the BBB scale, increased gradually with increasing curcumin dosage. The difference between low- and high-dose curcumin using the BBB scale was statistically significant. Neurological recovery and antioxidant effects of curcumin were observed in rats with SCI despite poor study methodological quality.