A blunted anxiolytic like effect of curcumin against acute lead induced anxiety in rat: involvement of serotonin

Acta Histochem. 2014 Jun;116(5):920-5. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Apr 12.


Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders sharing extreme or pathological anxiety states as the primary disturbance in mood or emotional tone, with increased fear and exaggerated acute stress responses. Medicinal plants are very variable, but some of them are used as a spice such as curcumin (Curcuma longa). Curcumin shows a wide range of pharmacological potentialities, however, little is known about its anxiolytic properties. The aim of our study was to assess the anti-anxiety potential of curcumin extract against experimental lead induced-anxiety in rats. Experiments were carried out on male Wistar rats intoxicated acutely with an intraperitoneal injection of Pb (25mg/kg B.W.) and/or concomitantly with administration of curcumin (30 mg/kg B.W.) for 3 days. Using immunohistochemistry and anxiety assessment tests (dark light box and elevated plus maze), we evaluated, respectively, the expression of serotonin (5HT) in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) and the anxiety state in our animals. Our results showed, for the first time, a noticeable anxiolytic effect of curcumin against lead induced anxiety in rats and this may possibly result from modulation of central neuronal monoaminergic neurotransmission, especially serotonin, which has shown a significant reduction of the immunoreactivity within the DRN.

Keywords: Anxiety; Curcumin; Dorsal raphe nucleus; Immunohistochemistry; Lead intoxication; Rat; Serotonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Dorsal Raphe Nucleus / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lead*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serotonin / genetics
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Lead
  • Serotonin
  • Curcumin