Food and Behaviour Research

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Curcumin reverses corticosterone-induced depressive-like behavior and decrease in brain BDNF levels in rats

Huang Z, Zhong XM, Li ZY, Feng CR, Pan AJ, Mao QQ. (2011) Neurosci Lett.  493(3): 145-8. Epub 2011 Feb 18. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here


A rat model of depression has been recently developed using exogenous corticosterone (CORT) administration. This study aimed to examine the antidepressant-like effect and the possible mechanisms of curcumin in a CORT-induced depression model in rats.

The results showed that 3-week CORT injections caused depression-like behavior in rats, as indicated by the significant decrease in sucrose consumption and increase in immobility time in the forced swim test. Repeated CORT injections also significantly decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of the rats.

Treatment of the rats with curcumin significantly suppressed the depression-like behavior and the decrease in brain BDNF levels induced by the repeated CORT injections. The results suggest that curcumin produces an antidepressant-like effect in CORT-treated rats, which is possibly mediated by increasing BDNF expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex.