Lead (Pb) is a toxic environmental heavy metal that induces serious clinical defect on all organs with the nervous system being the primary target. Curcumin is the main active constituent of turmeric rhizome (Curcuma longa) with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This study is aimed at evaluating the therapeutic potentials of curcumin on Pb-induced neurotoxicity. Thirty six male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly assigned into five (5) groups with 12 rats in the control (normal saline) and 6 rats for the lead treated group (LTG) (50 mg/kg lead acetate for 4 weeks), recovery group (RC) (50 mg/kg lead acetate for 4 weeks), treatment group 1 (Cur100) (50 mg/kg lead acetate for 4 weeks, followed by 100 mg/kg curcumin for 4 weeks) and treatment group 2 (Cur200) (50 mg/kg lead acetate for 4 weeks, followed by 200 mg/kg curcumin for 4 weeks) groups each. All experimental groups received the oral treatments through orogastric-tube on alternate days. Motor function was assessed using horizontal bar method while Pb concentration in the cerebellum of the rats were evaluated using ICP-MS techniques. Pb-administered rats showed significant decrease in motor scores, SOD activity with increase MDA levels and Pb concentration in their cerebellum with marked alterations in the histological architecture of the cerebellar cortex layers. However, treatment with curcumin improved the motor score, reduced Pb concentration in the cerebellum and ameliorates the markers of oxidative stress as well as restored the histological architecture of the cerebellum. The results this in study suggested that curcumin attenuates Pb-induced neurotoxicity via inhibition of oxidative stress and chelating activity.
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