Curcumin, a polyphenolic antioxidant, attenuates chronic fatigue syndrome in murine water immersion stress model

Immunobiology. 2009;214(1):33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2008.04.003. Epub 2008 Jun 17.


Chronic fatigue syndrome, infection and oxidative stress are interrelated in epidemiological case studies. However, data demonstrating scientific validation of epidemiological claims regarding effectiveness of nutritional supplements for chronic fatigue syndrome are lacking. This study is designed to evaluate the effect of natural polyphenol, curcumin, in a mouse model of immunologically induced fatigue, where purified lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Brucella abortus (BA) antigens were used as immunogens. The assessment of chronic fatigue syndrome was based on chronic water-immersion stress test for 10 min daily for 19 days and the immobility time was taken as the marker of fatigue. Mice challenged with LPS or BA for 19 days showed significant increase in the immobility time and hyperalgesia on day 19, as well as marked increase in serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) levels. Concurrent treatment with curcumin resulted in significantly decreased immobility time as well as hyperalgesia. There was significant attenuation of oxidative stress as well as TNF-alpha levels. These findings strongly suggest that during immunological activation, there is significant increase in oxidative stress and curcumin can be a valuable option in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Brucella abortus / immunology
  • Curcuma
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / immunology
  • Immersion
  • Immobility Response, Tonic / drug effects
  • Immunization
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Mice
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology
  • Stress, Physiological / drug effects*
  • Stress, Physiological / immunology
  • Touch / drug effects
  • Touch / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Water


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antioxidants
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Water
  • Curcumin