Curcumin: A Spice Against Alzheimer's

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 03 January 2014
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: ACS Nano/ACS Publications
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: Curcumin: A Spice Against Alzheimer's

Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from the South Asian spice turmeric, protects nerve cells from death. This compound may, thus, be beneficial in patients suffering from Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative disease. The delivery of curcumin to the brain, however, is challenging as this polyphenol does not cross the blood–brain barrier, a protective barrier surrounding the central nervous system.

To overcome this problem, Kailash Chand Gupta, CSIR – Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, India, and co-workers encapsulated curcumin inside biodegradable poly(lactic-co-glycolitic acid) nanoparticles (Cur-PLGA-NPs). Once administered to rats, the new nanoparticles easily crossed the blood–brain barrier, thereby accumulating in the rats’ brains. In addition, thanks to their ability to release curcumin in a slow and sustained manner, Cur-PLGA-NPs stimulated the generation of new neurons, ultimately improving cognitive functions and memory in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease.

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