The effects of curcumin on depressive-like behaviors in mice

Eur J Pharmacol. 2005 Jul 25;518(1):40-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.06.002.


Curcuma longa is a major constituent of Xiaoyao-san, the traditional Chinese medicinal formula, which has been used effectively to treat depression-related diseases in China. There is no information available about the antidepressant activity of curcumin, the active component of curcuma longa. In the present study, we analyzed the effects of curcumin on depressive-like behaviors in mice, using two animal models of depression. Our results showed that curcumin treatment at 5 and 10 mg/kg (p.o.) significantly reduced the duration of immobility in both the tail suspension and forced swimming tests. These doses that affected the immobile response did not affect locomotor activity. In addition, the neurochemical assays showed that curcumin produced a marked increase of serotonin and noradrenaline levels at 10 mg/kg in both the frontal cortex and hippocampus. Dopamine levels were also increased in the frontal cortex and the striatum. Moreover, curcumin was found to inhibit monoamine oxidase activity in the mouse brain. These findings suggest that the antidepressant-like effects of curcumin may involve the central monoaminergic neurotransmitter systems.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hindlimb Suspension
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Imipramine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Monoamine Oxidase / metabolism
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Swimming
  • Time Factors


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Serotonin
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Monoamine Oxidase
  • Curcumin
  • Imipramine
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine