Effect of curcumin on diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain: possible involvement of opioid system

Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 Jan 15:723:202-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.11.033. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


Neuropathic pain is one of the most common complications of diabetes mellitus. As efficacy and tolerability of current therapy for neuropathic pain are not ideal, we need to develop the novel drug for better treatment. Curcumin as a natural flavonoid from Curcuma longa has considerable effects on nervous system such as, antidepressant, antinociceptive and neuroprotective effects. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of curcumin on diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain and possible involvement of opioid system. A single dose of 60mg/kg streptozotocin was injected intraperitoneally to induce diabetes in rats. STZ-induced diabetic rats were treated with curcumin (50mg/kg/day) acute and chronically. Thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia were measured on the days 0, 7, 14 and 21 after diabetes induction as behavioral scores of neuropathic pain. Chronic, but not acute, treatment with curcumin prevents the weight loss and attenuates mechanical allodynia in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Pretreatment with naloxone (1mg/kg) significantly reduced anti-allodynic effect of chronic curcumin in von Frey filament test. Our results suggest that curcumin can be considered as a new therapeutic potential for the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain and the activation of opioid system may be involved in the antinociceptive effect of curcumin.

Keywords: Curcumin; Curcumin (PubChem CID: 969516); Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain; Dimethyl sulphoxide (PubChem CID: 679); Mechanical allodynia; Naloxone (PubChem CID: 5464092); Rat; Streptozotocin; Streptozotocin (PubChem CID: 29327).

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Hyperalgesia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Naloxone / pharmacology
  • Narcotic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naloxone
  • Curcumin