Pretreatment with curcumin attenuates anxiety while strengthens memory performance after one short stress experience in male rats

Brain Res Bull. 2015 Jun:115:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 11.


It is observed that memories are more strengthened in a stressful condition. Studies have also demonstrated an association between stressful events and the onset of depression and anxiety. Considering the nootropic, anxiolytic and antidepressant-like properties of curcumin in various experimental approaches, we appraised the beneficial effects of this herb on acute immobilization stress-induced behavioral and neurochemical alterations. Rats in test group were administrated with curcumin (200mg/kg/day), dissolved in neutral oil, for 1 week. Both control and curcumin-treated rats were divided into unstressed and stressed groups. Rats in the stressed group were subjected to immobilization stress for 2h. After stress, the animals were subjected to behavioral tests. Immobilization stress induced an anxiogenic behavior in rats subjected to elevated plus maze test (EPM). Locomotor activity was also significantly increased following the acute immobilization stress. Pre-administration of curcumin prevented the stress-induced behavioral deficits. Highest memory performance was observed in stressed rats that were pre-treated with curcumin in Morris water maze (MWM). Brain malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activities were also estimated. Present study suggests a role of antioxidant enzymes in the attenuation of acute stress induced anxiety by curcumin. The findings therefore suggest that supplementation of curcumin may be beneficial in the treatment of acute stress induced anxiety and enhancement of memory function.

Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase; Acute immobilization stress; Curcumin; Memory; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Curcumin / pharmacology*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nootropic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Stress, Psychological / drug therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Nootropic Agents
  • Curcumin