Curcumin Attenuates Colistin-Induced Neurotoxicity in N2a Cells via Anti-inflammatory Activity, Suppression of Oxidative Stress, and Apoptosis

Chongshan Dai, Giuseppe D Ciccotosto, Roberto Cappai, Shusheng Tang, Daowen Li, Sanlei Xie, Xilong Xiao, Tony Velkov

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Neurotoxicity is an unwanted side-effect seen in patients receiving therapy with the “last-line” polymyxin antibiotics. This is the first study to show that colistin-induced neurotoxicity in neuroblastoma-2a (N2a) cells gives rise to an inflammatory response involving the IL-1β/p-IκB-α/NF-κB pathway. Pretreatment with curcumin at 5, 10, and 20 μM for 2 h prior to colistin (200 μM) exposure for 24 h, produced an anti-inflammatory effect by significantly down-regulating the expression of the pro-inflammatory mediators cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), phosphorylation of the inhibitor of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) (p-IκB)-α, and concomitantly NF-κB levels. Moreover, curcumin significantly decreased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and increased the activities of the anti-ROS enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, and the intracellular levels of glutathione. Curcumin pretreatment also protected the cells from colistin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, caspase activation, and subsequent apoptosis. Overall, our findings demonstrate for the first time, a potential role for curcumin for treating polymyxin-induced neurotoxicity through the modulation of NF-κB signaling and its potent anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-434
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Colistin
  • Curcumin
  • Inflammation
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Oxidative stress

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