Neuroprotective properties of curcumin in toxin-base animal models of Parkinson's disease: a systematic experiment literatures review

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Aug 17;17(1):412. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1922-x.


Background: Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a polyphenol extracted from the plant Curcuma longa, is widely used in Southeast Asia, China and India in food preparation and for medicinal purposes. Meanwhile, the neuroprotective actions of curcumin have been documented for experimental therapy in Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods: In this study, we used a systematic review to comprehensively assess the efficacy of curcumin in experimental PD. Using electronic and manual search for the literatures, we identified studies describing the efficacy of curcumin in animal models of PD.

Results: We identified 13 studies with a total of 298 animals describing the efficacy of curcumin in animal models of PD. The methodological quality of all preclinical trials is ranged from 2 to 5. The majority of the experiment studies demonstrated that curcumin was more significantly neuroprotection effective than control groups for treating PD. Among them, five studies indicated that curcumin had an anti-inflammatory effect in the PD animal models (p < 0.05). Meanwhile, four studies showed the antioxidant capability of curcumin, by which it protected substantia nigra neurons and improved striatal dopamine levels. Furthermore, two studies in this review displayed that curcumin treatment was also effective in reducing neuronal apoptosis and improving functional outcome in animal models of PD. Most of the preclinical studies demonstrated the positive findings while one study reported that curcumin had no beneficial effects against Mn-induced disruption of hippocampal metal and neurotransmitter homeostasis.

Conclusions: The results demonstrated a marked efficacy of curcumin in experimental model of PD, suggesting curcumin probably a candidate neuroprotective drug for human PD patients.

Keywords: Animal models; Curcumin; Parkinson’s disease; Preclinical studies; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Curcuma / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Curcumin