Protective effect of curcumin (Curcuma longa), against aluminium toxicity: Possible behavioral and biochemical alterations in rats

Behav Brain Res. 2009 Dec 28;205(2):384-90. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2009.07.012. Epub 2009 Jul 16.


Aluminium is a potent neurotoxin and has been associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) causality for decades. Prolonged aluminium exposure induces oxidative stress and increases amyloid beta levels in vivo. Current treatment modalities for AD provide only symptomatic relief thus necessitating the development of new drugs with fewer side effects. The aim of the study was to demonstrate the protective effect of chronic curcumin administration against aluminium-induced cognitive dysfunction and oxidative damage in rats. Aluminium chloride (100 mg/kg, p.o.) was administered to rats daily for 6 weeks. Rats were concomitantly treated with curcumin (per se; 30 and 60 mg/kg, p.o.) daily for a period of 6 weeks. On the 21st and 42nd day of the study behavioral studies to evaluate memory (Morris water maze and elevated plus maze task paradigms) and locomotion (photoactometer) were done. The rats were sacrificed on 43rd day following the last behavioral test and various biochemical tests were performed to assess the extent of oxidative damage. Chronic aluminium chloride administration resulted in poor retention of memory in Morris water maze, elevated plus maze task paradigms and caused marked oxidative damage. It also caused a significant increase in the acetylcholinesterase activity and aluminium concentration in aluminium treated rats. Chronic administration of curcumin significantly improved memory retention in both tasks, attenuated oxidative damage, acetylcholinesterase activity and aluminium concentration in aluminium treated rats (P<0.05). Curcumin has neuroprotective effects against aluminium-induced cognitive dysfunction and oxidative damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Aluminum / metabolism
  • Aluminum / toxicity*
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Aluminum Compounds / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Chlorides / toxicity
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Memory Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Aluminum Compounds
  • Chlorides
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Nitrites
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Aluminum
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Glutathione
  • Curcumin