Neuroprotective and neurorescue effects of a novel polymeric nanoparticle formulation of curcumin (NanoCurc™) in the neuronal cell culture and animal model: Implications for Alzheimer's disease

Balmiki Ray, Savita Bisht, Amarnath Maitra, Anirban Maitra, Debomoy K. Lahiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by deposition of amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques within the brain parenchyma followed by synaptic loss and neuronal death. Deposited Aβ reacts with activated microglia to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cytochemokines, which lead to severe neuroinflammation. Curcumin is a yellow polyphenol compound found in turmeric, a widely used culinary ingredient that possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and may show efficacy as a potential therapeutic agent in several neuro-inflammatory diseases including AD. However, poor aqueous solubility and sub-optimal systemic absorption from the gastrointestinal tract may represent factors contributing to its failure in clinical trials. To increase curcumin's bioavailability, a polymeric nanoparticle encapsulated curcumin (NanoCurc™) was formulated which is completely water soluble. NanoCurc™ treatment protects neuronally differentiated human SK-N-SH cells from ROS (H2O2) mediated insults. NanoCurc™ also rescues differentiated human SK-N-SH cells, which were previously insulted with H2O2. In vivo, intraperitoneal (IP) NanoCurc™ injection at a dose of 25mg/kg twice daily in athymic mice resulted in significant curcumin levels in the brain (0.32 μg/g). Biochemical study of NanoCurc™-treated athymic mice revealed decreased levels of H 2O2 as well as caspase 3 and caspase 7 activities in the brain, accompanied by increased glutathione (GSH) concentrations. Increased free to oxidized glutathione (GSH:GSSH) ratio in athymic mice brain versus controls also indicated a favorable redox intracellular environment. Taken together, these results suggest that NanoCurc™ represents an optimized formulation worthy of assessing the therapeutic value of curcumin in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-77
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011



  • Alzheimer's disease
  • caspase
  • curcumin
  • glutathione
  • GSH
  • NanoCurc™
  • neuropreservation
  • neuroprotection
  • oxidative stress
  • polymeric nanoparticle
  • reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology

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