Curcumin Can Improve Spinal Cord Injury by Inhibiting TGF-β-SOX9 Signaling Pathway

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2019 Jul;39(5):569-575. doi: 10.1007/s10571-019-00671-x. Epub 2019 Mar 26.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a severe nervous system disease with high morbidity and disability rate. Signaling pathways play a key role in the neuronal restorative mechanism following SCI. SRY-related high mobility group (HMG)-box gene 9 (SOX9) affects glial scar formation via Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling pathway. Activation of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) is transferred into nucleus to upregulate TGF-β-SOX9. Curcumin exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Curcumin can play an important role in SCI recovery by inhibiting the expression of NF-κB and TGF-β-SOX9. Herein, we review the potential mechanism of curcumin-inhibiting SOX9 signaling pathway in SCI treatment. The inhibition of NF-κB and SOX9 signaling pathway by curcumin has the potentiality of serving as neuronal regenerative mechanism following SCI.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; Anti-oxidation; Curcumin; NF-κB signaling pathway; Neuroregeneration; SOX9 signaling pathway; Spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • NF-kappa B
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Curcumin