Background: Curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties has recently been reported to have anticonvulsant effects in several animal models of epilepsy. This study aimed to investigate the effects of curcumin on the pilocarpine rat model of status epilepticus.
Methods: The effect of intraperitoneal administration of curcumin (30, 100, and 300 mg/kg) on pilocarpine-induced seizures in rats was tested. The correlation between seizure activity and hippocampal levels of nitric oxide synthase and free radicals was quantified. Whether curcumin treatment modulated these parameters was also investigated.
Results: Curcumin significantly increased seizure threshold at doses of 100 and 300 mg/kg. Rats with pilocarpine- induced seizures showed significantly elevated levels of malonaldehyde, nitric oxide synthase, and lactate dehydrogenase, but decreased levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione compared with normal control rats. At doses of 100 and 300 mg/kg, curcumin reversed the effects of pilocarpine-induced seizures on nitric oxide synthase, lactate dehydrogenase, glutathione, and superoxide dismutase. However, curcumin did not restore the elevated malonaldehyde levels.
Conclusion: Curcumin has anticonvulsant activity in the pilocarpine rat model of seizures, and that modulation of free radicals and nitric oxide synthase may be involved in this effect.