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.