Histological studies of neuroprotective effects of Curcuma longa Linn. on neuronal loss induced by dexamethasone treatment in the rat hippocampus.
Acta Histochem. 2014 Oct ;116(8):1443-53. Epub 2014 Oct 16. PMID: 25440530
Long term exposure to dexamethasone (Dx) is associated with brain damage especially in the hippocampus via the oxidative stress pathway. Previously, an ethanolic extract from Curcuma longa Linn. (CL) containing the curcumin constituent has been reported to produce antioxidant effects. However, its neuroprotective property on brain histology has remained unexplored. This study has examined the effects of a CL extract on the densities of cresyl violet positive neurons and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactive (GFAP-ir) astrocytes in the hippocampus of Dx treated male rats. It showed that 21 days of Dx treatment (0.5mg/kg, i.p. once daily) significantly reduced the densities of cresyl violet positive neurons in the sub-areas CA1, CA3 and the dentate gyrus, but not in the CA2 area. However, CL pretreatment (100mg/kg, p.o.) was found to significantly restore neuronal densities in the CA1 and dentate gyrus. In addition, Dx treatment also significantly decreased the densities of the GFAP-ir astrocytes in the sub-areas CA1, CA3 and the dentate gyrus. However, CL pretreatment (100mg/kg, p.o.) failed to protect the loss of astrocytes in these sub-areas. These findings confirm the neuroprotective effects of the CL extract and indicate that the cause of astrocyte loss might be partially reduced by a non-oxidative mechanism. Moreover, the detection of neuronal and glial densities was suitable method to study brain damage and the effects of treatment.