Curcumin-cyclodextrin/cellulose nanocrystals improve the phenotype of Charcot-Marie-Tooth-1A transgenic rats through the reduction of oxidative stress

Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 Dec:161:246-262. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.09.019. Epub 2020 Sep 25.


The most prevalent form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT type 1A) is characterized by duplication of the PMP22 gene, peripheral dysmyelination and decreased nerve conduction velocities leading to muscle weakness. Recently, oxidative stress was reported as a feature in CMT1A patients. Curcumin exhibits antioxidant activities and has shown beneficial properties on peripheral nerves. However, curcumin presents unfavorable pharmacokinetics. We developed curcumin-cyclodextrin/cellulose nanocrystals (Nano-Cur) to bypass this limitation. The present study investigated the therapeutic potential of Nano-Cur in vitro in Schwann cells (SCs) and in vivo in the transgenic CMT1A rat model. In vitro, Nano-Cur treatment (0.01 μM for 8 h) reduced reactive oxygen species and improved mitochondrial membrane potential in CMT1A SCs. Moreover, Nano-Cur treatment (0.01 μM for 1 week) increased the expression of myelin basic protein in SC/neuron co-cultures. Preliminary in vivo experiments carried out in WT rats showed that intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of Nano-Cur treatment containing 0.2 mg/kg of curcumin strongly enhanced the bioavailability of curcumin. Afterwards, in 1-month-old male CMT1A rats, Nano-Cur treatment (0.2 mg/kg/day, i.p. for 8 weeks) significantly improved sensori-motor functions (grip strength, balance performance, and mechanical and thermal sensitivities). Importantly, sensory and motor nerve conduction velocities were improved. Further histological and biochemical analyses indicated that myelin sheath thickness and myelin protein expression (myelin protein zero and PMP22) were increased. In addition, oxidative stress markers were decreased in the sciatic nerve and gastrocnemius muscle. Finally, Nrf2 expression and some major antioxidant enzymes were increased in sciatic nerve. Therefore, Nano-Cur significantly improved cellular, electrophysiological, and functional features of CMT1A rats.

Keywords: Charcot-Marie-Tooth-1A; Curcumin-cyclodextrin/cellulose nanocrystals; Endoplasmic reticulum; Myelination; Oxidative stress; PMP22; Peripheral neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cellulose
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / drug therapy
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease* / genetics
  • Curcumin* / pharmacology
  • Cyclodextrins*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phenotype
  • Rats
  • Rats, Transgenic


  • Cyclodextrins
  • Cellulose
  • Curcumin