Curcumin attenuates cerebral edema following traumatic brain injury in mice: A possible role for aquaporin-4?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury is a devastating neurological injury associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Medical therapies to limit cerebral edema, a cause of increased intracranial hypertension and poor clinical outcome, are largely ineffective, emphasizing the need for novel therapeutic approaches. In the present study, pre-treatment with curcumin (75, 150 mg/kg) or 30 min post-treatment with 300 mg/kg significantly reduced brain water content and improved neurological outcome following a moderate controlled cortical impact in mice. The protective effect of curcumin was associated with a significant attenuation in the acute pericontusional expression of interleukin-1β, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, after injury. Curcumin also reversed the induction of aquaporin-4, an astrocytic water channel implicated in the development of cellular edema following head trauma. Notably, curcumin blocked IL-1β-induced aquaporin-4 expression in cultured astrocytes, an effect mediated, at least in part, by reduced activation of the p50 and p65 subunits of nuclear factor κB. Consistent with this notion, curcumin preferentially attenuated phosphorylated p65 immunoreactivity in pericontusional astrocytes and decreased the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein, a reactive astrocyte marker. As a whole, these data suggest clinically achievable concentrations of curcumin reduce glial activation and cerebral edema following neurotrauma, a finding which warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-648
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Cellular edema
  • Controlled cortical impact
  • Glia
  • Intracranial pressure
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neurotrauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Curcumin attenuates cerebral edema following traumatic brain injury in mice: A possible role for aquaporin-4?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this