Curcumin extends life span, improves health span, and modulates the expression of age-associated aging genes in Drosophila melanogaster

Rejuvenation Res. 2010 Oct;13(5):561-70. doi: 10.1089/rej.2010.1031. Epub 2010 Jul 20.


Background: Curcumin, an extract from the rhizome of the plant Curcuma longa (turmeric), has been widely used as a spice and herbal medicine in Asia. It has been suggested to have many biological activities, such as antioxidative, antiinflammatory, anticancer, chemopreventive, and antineurodegenerative properties. We evaluated the impact of curcumin on life span, fecundity, feeding rate, oxidative stress, locomotion, and gene expression in two different wild-type Drosophila melanogaster strains, Canton-S and Ives, under two different experimental conditions.

Results: We report that curcumin extended the life span of two different strains of D. melanogaster, an effect that was accompanied by protection against oxidative stress, improvement in locomotion, and chemopreventive effects. Life span extension was gender and genotype specific. Curcumin also modulated the expression of several aging-related genes, including mth, thor, InR, and JNK.

Conclusions: The observed positive effects of curcumin on life span and health span in two different D. melanogaster strains demonstrate a potential applicability of curcumin treatment in mammals. The ability of curcumin to mitigate the expression levels of age-associated genes in young flies suggests that the action of curcumin on these genes is a cause, rather than an effect, of its life span-extending effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / genetics
  • Animals
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Health*
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Longevity / drug effects*
  • Longevity / genetics
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Protective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Protective Agents
  • Curcumin