Relevance of the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin in neurodegenerative diseases and depression

Molecules. 2014 Dec 12;19(12):20864-79. doi: 10.3390/molecules191220864.


This review is an attempt to summarize our current understanding of curcumin's potential as a neuroprotectant and an antidepressant. This dual property confers a unique advantage to this herbal medication, believed to be devoid of any major side effects, to combat commonly observed co-morbid conditions of a neurodegenerative and a neuropsychiatric disorder. Moreover, in line with the theme of this series, the role of inflammation and stress in these diseases and possible anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, as well as its interaction with signal transduction proteins as a common denominator in its varied mechanisms of action, are also discussed. Thus, following a brief introduction of curcumin's pharmacology, we present research suggesting how its anti-inflammatory properties have therapeutic potential in treating a devastating neurological disorder (Parkinson's disease = PD) and a debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder (major depressive disorder = MDD). It is concluded that curcumin, or better yet, an analog with better and longer bioavailability could be of important therapeutic potential in PD and/or major depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / immunology
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / immunology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Curcumin