Curcumin-supplemented diets increase superoxide dismutase activity and mean lifespan in Drosophila

Age (Dordr). 2013 Aug;35(4):1133-42. doi: 10.1007/s11357-012-9438-2. Epub 2012 Jun 1.


Curcumin is a polyphenolic bioactive compound in turmeric. We examined if antioxidant effects of curcumin are associated with lifespan extension in Drosophila. In this experiment, females and males of Drosophila were fed diets either containing no curcumin (C0) or supplemented with curcumin at 0.5 (C1) and 1.0 (C2) mg/g of diet. The levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), and expression of seven age-related genes in females and males were analyzed. We found that C1 and C2 increased mean lifespan by 6.2 % and 25.8 % in females, and by 15.5 % and 12.6 % in males, respectively. Meanwhile, C1 and C2 significantly decreased MDA levels and increased SOD activity in both genders. Diets C1 in females and C2 in males are effective in extending mean lifespan and improving levels of two physiological and biochemical measures related to aging in Drosophila. Lifespan extension of curcumin in Drosophila was associated with the up-regulation of Mn-SOD and CuZn-SOD genes, and the down-regulation of dInR, ATTD, Def, CecB, and DptB genes. The present results suggest that curcumin increases mean lifespan of Drosophila via regulating gene expression of the key enzyme SOD and reducing accumulation of MDA and lipid peroxidation. This study provided new insights for understanding the anti-aging mechanism of curcumin in Drosophila.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lipid Peroxidation / genetics
  • Longevity / drug effects
  • Longevity / genetics*
  • Male
  • RNA / genetics*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Superoxide Dismutase / biosynthesis
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics*


  • RNA
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Curcumin