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Challenges associated with curcumin therapy in Alzheimer disease

  • Abdenour Belkacemi (a1), Sihem Doggui (a1) (a2), Lé Dao (a2) and Charles Ramassamy (a1) (a3)

Abstract

Curcumin, the phytochemical agent in the spice turmeric, which gives Indian curry its yellow colour, is also a traditional Indian medicine. It has been used for millennia as a wound-healing agent and for treating a variety of ailments. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and other properties of curcumin have only recently gained the attention of modern pharmacology. The mechanism of action of curcumin is complex and multifaceted. In part, curcumin acts by activating various cytoprotective proteins that are components of the phase II response. Over the past decade, research with curcumin has increased significantly. In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that curcumin could target pathways involved in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer disease (AD), such as the β-amyloid cascade, tau phosphorylation, neuroinflammation or oxidative stress. These findings suggest that curcumin might be a promising compound for the development of AD therapy. However, its insolubility in water and poor bioavailability have limited clinical trials and its therapeutic applications. To be effective as a drug therapy, curcumin must be combined with other drugs, or new delivery strategies need to be developed.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Charles Ramassamy, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, 531, boul. des Prairies, H7V 1B7 Laval, Québec, Canada. E-mail: Charles.Ramassamy@iaf.inrs.ca

References

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The following papers describe in detail mechanisms of curcumin that are not discussed in this review:

Kulkarni, A.P. et al. (2011) Modulation of anxiety behavior by intranasally administered vaccinia virus complement control protein and curcumin in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research 8, 95-113
Mohorko, N. et al. (2010) Curcumin labeling of neuronal fibrillar tau inclusions in human brain samples. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 69, 405-414
Seo, J.S. et al. (2010) Severe motor neuron degeneration in the spinal cord of the Tg2576 mouse model of Alzheimer disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 21, 263-276
Reeta, K.H. et al. (2011) Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions of valproate, phenytoin, phenobarbitone and carbamazepine with curcumin in experimental models of epilepsy in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 99, 399-407

General information on curcumin, on curcumin and cancer and a list of clinical trials:

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Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine
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