Peripheral neuropathy is one of the major side effects of cisplatin; however, effective treatments are lacking. Curcumin is a polyphenol found in the root of Curcuma longa and has been shown neuroprotective against several neurological diseases. Nevertheless, its effects on cisplatin neuropathy remain unclear. This study aimed to clarify this issue by inducing neuropathy in the rats with intraperitoneal injection of cisplatin 2 mg/kg twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks. Curcumin 200 mg/kg/day was given by gavage to a group of cisplatin-treated rats during these five weeks. The results showed that cisplatin induced thermal hypoalgesia in the 5(th) week which could be prevented by curcumin. In the 5(th) and 8(th) weeks, sciatic motor nerve conduction velocity was reduced in the cisplatin compared with the control groups. Curcumin significantly attenuated this deficit. Morphometric analysis of L4 dorsal root ganglia from the cisplatin group revealed nuclear and nucleolar atrophy including loss of neurons in the 8(th) week. These alterations were significantly blocked by curcumin. Moreover, curcumin also ameliorated the reduced myelin thickness in the sciatic nerve of cisplatin-treated rats. Taken together, our findings suggest the favorable effects of curcumin on both functional and structural abnormalities in cisplatin neuropathy. Future studies are needed to clarify the exact underlying mechanisms.
Keywords: cisplatin; curcumin; dorsal root ganglion; neuropathy; sciatic nerve.