Curcumin protects neurons against oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation-induced injury through activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ function.
J Neurosci Res. 2014 Nov ;92(11):1549-59. Epub 2014 Jun 26. PMID: 24975470
The turmeric derivative curcumin protects against cerebral ischemic injury. We previously demonstrated that curcumin activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ), a ligand-activated transcription factor involved in both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory signaling pathways. This study tested whether the neuroprotective effects of curcumin against oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R)-induced injury of rat cortical neurons are mediated (at least in part) by PPARγ. Curcumin (10 μM) potently enhanced PPARγ expression and transcriptional activity following OGD/R. In addition, curcumin markedly increased neuronal viability, as evidenced by decreased lactate dehydrogenase release and reduced nitric oxide production, caspase-3 activity, and apoptosis. These protective effects were suppressed by coadministration of the PPARγ antagonist 2-chloro-5-nitrobenzanilide (GW9662) and by prior transfection of a small-interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting PPARγ, treatments that had no toxic effects on healthy neurons. Curcumin reduced OGD/R-induced accumulation of reactive oxygen species and inhibited the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway, as indicated by reduced release of cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor and maintenance of both the mitochondrial membrane potential and the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. Again, GW9662 or PPARγ siRNA transfection mitigated the protective effects of curcumin on mitochondrial function. Curcumin suppressed IκB kinase phosphorylation and IκB degradation, thereby inhibiting nuclear factor-κ B (NF-κB) nuclear translocation, effects also blocked by GW9662 or PPARγ siRNA. Immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that PPARγ interacted with NF-κB p65 and inhibited NF-κB activation. The present study provides strong evidence that at least some of the neuroprotective effects of curcumin against OGD/R are mediated by PPARγ activation.