The effect of curcumin on morphine addiction in male rats: role of cerebral inflammatory cytokines

[Speaker] Mohammad Abbas Sheykholeslami:1
[Co-author] Masoomeh Sabetkasaie:1, Siavash Parvardeh:1, Shiva Ghafghazi:1
1:Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Opioid analgesic drugs are the first-line pharmacologic agents for the treatment of severe pain. However, their side effects including dependence and addiction restrict their clinical application. Continuous and prolonged morphine intake has been shown to induce inflammation in the central nerve system (CNS). Thus, anti-inflammatory agents can probably prevent morphine addiction.
Curcumin has been identified as the major constituent of Curcuma Langa. It has several pharmacological properties especially anti-inflammatory effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of curcumin on morphine addiction and withdrawal syndrome in rat.
Male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 4 groups of 12 rats each. In order to induce addiction in rats, they were all given morphine (dose 40mg/kg) once daily for 9 days. Then in control group, rats received morphine (dose 40 mg/kg) + normal saline for 9 more days. In treatment groups, rats were given curcumin (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg, i.p.) once daily for 9 more days. On the nineteenth day, naloxone was injected to 6 rats in each group to evoke withdrawal syndrome and 6 of the others were used to measure inflammatory cytokines including TNF and IL-6.
The results showed that curcumin (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg) significantly attenuate behavioral symptoms of withdrawal syndrome including jumping, leaning, rearing and diarrhea. In addition, curcumin could significantly reduce the levels of TNF and IL-6 in the samples from cerebral cortex of morphine addicted rats.
The results of this study showed that long-term administration of morphine in rats
caused an apparent inflammation in the CNS which was compatible with behavioral
symptoms of withdrawal syndrome. Our finding demonstrated that curcumin
attenuate the withdrawal syndrome in morphine addicted rats through reduction of
elevated cytokine levels in the brain. Based on these results, it can be concluded that
curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the CNS and can be used as a
potential new treatment to prevent morphine addiction. However, this effect needs
to be assessed in further studies.
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