Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF

Laura L. Hurley, Luli Akinfiresoye, Evaristus Nwulia, Atsushi Kamiya, Amol A. Kulkarni, Yousef Tizabi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Curcumin is the principal active ingredient found in turmeric (Curcuma longa), a plant used in traditional Asian diets and herbal medicines. It is known to have a wide range of biological actions including antidepressant-like effects which have been observed in stress-induced depression models. This study was designed to investigate the antidepressant potential of curcumin in a non-induced model of depression. Moreover, since brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been implicated in antidepressant effects of many drugs, we also evaluated the effects of curcumin on BDNF in the hippocampus. Adult male Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, a putative model of depression, were injected acutely or chronically (10. d) with 50, 100, and 200. mg/kg curcumin. Open field locomotor activity (OFLA) and forced swim test (FST), a measure of helplessness, were measured 1. h after acute and 18-20. h after last chronic injection. Results showed a dose-dependent reduction of immobility in the FST by curcumin in both acute and chronic studies, without any significant effect on OFLA. The effect of higher chronic curcumin dose in FST was still evident a week later. Chronic curcumin also resulted in a dose-dependent increase in hippocampal BDNF. This data provides evidence for an antidepressant-like effect of curcumin, possibly through increased neurotrophic activity, in the WKY model of depression, and support the notion that curcumin may prove an effective and lasting natural antidepressant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-30
Number of pages4
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • animal Model
  • BDNF
  • curcumin
  • depression
  • hippocampus
  • WKY Rats


Dive into the research topics of 'Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this