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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017, Article ID 3037876, 16 pages
Research Article

Curcumin Reverses the Diazepam-Induced Cognitive Impairment by Modulation of Oxidative Stress and ERK 1/2/NF-κB Pathway in Brain

1Department of Physiology, “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 1 Clinicilor Street, 400006 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology and Geology, Babes-Bolyai University, Clinicilor Street No. 5-7, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3Department of Biochemistry and Experimental Biology, Institute of Biological Research, Republicii Street No. 48, branch of NIRDBS Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
4Department of Molecular and Biomolecular Physics, NIRD for Isotopic and Molecular Technologies, Donat Street No. 101, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Correspondence should be addressed to Gabriela A. Filip; moc.oohay@33pilifanairda

Received 20 April 2017; Accepted 6 July 2017; Published 2 October 2017

Academic Editor: Francisco J. Romero

Copyright © 2017 Alexandra C. Sevastre-Berghian et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidative stress and inflammation can be involved in cognitive dysfunction associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Diazepam (DZP) administration has been chosen to simulate the memory impairment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of curcumin (CUR) on spatial cognition, ambulatory activity, and blood and brain oxidative stress levels. The ERK/NF-κB signaling pathway and the histopathological changes in the hippocampus and frontal lobe, in diazepam-treated rats, were also analyzed. The animals were divided into 4 groups: control, carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) + CUR, CMC + DZP, and CUR + CMC + DZP. CUR (150 mg/kg b.w.) was orally administered for 28 days. DZP (2 mg/kg b.w.) was intraperitoneally administered 20 minutes before the behavioral tests (open field test, Y-maze, and elevated plus maze). CUR improved the spontaneous alternation behavior, decreased the oxidative stress levels, both in the blood and in the hippocampus, and downregulated the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK 1/2)/nuclear transcription factor- (NF-) κB/pNF-κB pathway in the hippocampus and the iNOS expression in the hippocampus and frontal lobe of the DZP-treated rats. Histopathologically, no microscopic changes were found. The immunohistochemical signal of iNOS decreased in the DZP and CUR-treated group. Thus, our findings suggest that curcumin administration may improve the cognitive performance and may also have an antioxidant effect.