GABAergic and nitriergic modulation by curcumin for its antianxiety-like activity in mice

Brain Res. 2010 Sep 17;1352:167-75. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.07.007. Epub 2010 Jul 12.


In the present study, effect of curcumin (10 and 20mg/kg), an active constituent of Curcuma longa was evaluated for its antianxiety-like activity in mice subjected to immobilization-induced restraint stress for 6h. The effect on anxiety was assessed by employing elevated plus maze, open field test, light/dark test and social interaction test. Only the higher dose (20mg/kg, i.p.) of curcumin produced significant antianxiety-like effect in stressed mice. Pre-treatment with aminoguanidine (50mg/kg; i.p.), an inducible nitric oxide synthase inhibitor significantly enhanced the anxiolytic-like effect of curcumin in stressed mice as compared to curcumin and aminoguanidine per se in stressed mice. Pretreatment with 7-nitroindazole (20mg/kg), a neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitor did not significantly affect the antianxiety-like response of curcumin in stressed mice as compared to curcumin per se. Restraint stress significantly increased plasma nitrite levels in mice. Curcumin (20mg/kg, i.p.) and aminoguanidine significantly decreased plasma nitrite levels in stressed mice. The combination of aminoguanidine and curcumin significantly decreased the plasma nitrite levels as compared to curcumin and aminoguanidine per se in stressed mice. Curcumin and aminoguanidine did not produce any significant change in brain GABA contents of the animals. Diazepam (2mg/kg) produced significant anxiolytic-like effect only in unstressed mice, but could not exert significant anxiolysis in stressed mice. However, diazepam significantly increased GABA contents in both unstressed and stressed mice as compared to respective control groups. These findings suggest the possible involvement of only inducible NOS and not neuronal NOS in antianxiety-like effect of curcumin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Guanidines / pharmacology
  • Maze Learning / drug effects*
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Restraint, Physical / physiology
  • Social Behavior
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Guanidines
  • Nitrites
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Curcumin
  • Diazepam
  • pimagedine