Curcumin attenuates surgery-induced cognitive dysfunction in aged mice.
Metab Brain Dis. 2017 Feb 21. Epub 2017 Feb 21. PMID: 28224377
Post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) is associated with elderly patients undergoing surgery. However, pharmacological treatments for POCD are limited. In this study, we found that curcumin, an active compound derived from Curcuma longa, ameliorated the cognitive dysfunction following abdominal surgery in aged mice. Further, curcumin prevented surgery-induced anti-oxidant enzyme activity. Curcumin also increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-positive area and expression of pAkt in the brain, suggesting that curcumin activated BDNF signaling in aged mice. Furthermore, curcumin neutralized cholinergic dysfunction involving choline acetyltransferase expression induced by surgery. These results strongly suggested that curcumin prevented cognitive impairments via multiple targets, possibly by increasing the activity of anti-oxidant enzymes, activation of BDNF signaling, and neutralization of cholinergic dysfunction, concurrently. Based on these novel findings, curcumin might be a potential agent in POCD prophylaxis and treatment.