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Investigation of the Anxiolytic and Antidepressant Effects of Curcumin, a Compound From Turmeric (Curcuma longa), in the Adult Male Sprague-Dawley Rat

Ceremuga, Tomás Eduardo CRNA, PhD, MSN, BSN, BA, AD; Helmrick, Katie RN, BSN, CCRN; Kufahl, Zachary RN, BSN, CEN; Kelley, Jesse RN, BSN; Keller, Brian RN, BSN, CCRN; Philippe, Fabiola RN, BSN, CCRN; Golder, James RN, BSN; Padrón, Gina RN, BSN, BS

doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000208

As the use of herbal medications continues to increase in America, the potential interaction between herbal and prescription medications necessitates the discovery of their mechanisms of action. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects of curcumin, a compound from turmeric (Curcuma longa), and its effects on the benzodiazepine site of the γ-aminobutyric acid receptor A (GABAA) receptor. Utilizing a prospective, between-subjects group design, 55 male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to 1 of the 5 intraperitoneally injected treatment groups: vehicle, curcumin, curcumin + flumazenil, midazolam, and midazolam + curcumin. Behavioral testing was performed using the elevated plus maze, open field test, and forced swim test. A 2-tailed multivariate analysis of variance and least significant difference post hoc tests were used for data analysis. In our models, curcumin did not demonstrate anxiolytic effects or changes in behavioral despair. An interaction of curcumin at the benzodiazepine site of the GABAA receptor was also not observed. Additional studies are recommended that examine the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects of curcumin through alternate dosing regimens, modulation of other subunits on the GABAA receptor, and interactions with other central nervous system neurotransmitter systems.

US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Correspondence: Tomás Eduardo Ceremuga, CRNA, PhD, MSN, BSN, BA, AD, AMEDDC&S, HRCoE Nursing Science, 3490 Forage Rd, Ste 112, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 (

The researchers would like to thank the US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing faculty for their guidance and expertise. Additional thanks to Dr Arthur Johnson for his invaluable assistance with data processing; Ms Gina Padrón for her laboratory support and assistance; Ms Kathleen McKay and the US Army Institute of Surgical Research for allowing us to conduct research at their facility; and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) for their funding and research support. The study was funded by an AANA Foundation grant.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

There are no conflicts of interest. This work has been funded and supported by the AANA Foundation.

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