Neuroinflammation and the presence of amyloid beta protein (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles are key pathologies in Alzheimer's disease (AD). As a potent anti-amyloid and anti-inflammatory natural polyphenol, curcumin (Cur) could be potential therapies for AD. Unfortunately, poor solubility, instability in physiological fluids, and low bioavailability limit its clinical utility. Recently, different lipid modifications in the formulae of Cur have been developed that would enhance its therapeutic potential. For example, we have reported greater permeability and neuroprotection with solid lipid curcumin particles (SLCP) than with natural Cur in an in vitro model of AD. In the present study, we compared the Aβ aggregation inhibition, anti-amyloid, anti-inflammatory responses of Cur and or SLCP in both in vitro and in vivo models of AD. One-year-old 5xFAD-and age-matched wild-type mice were given intraperitoneal injections of Cur or SLCP (50 mg/kg body weight) for 2- or 5-days. Levels of Aβ aggregation, including oligomers and fibril formation, were assessed by dot blot assay, while Aβ plaque load and neuronal morphology in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus were assayed by immunolabeling with Aβ-specific antibody and cresyl violet staining, respectively. In addition, neuroinflammation was assessed the immunoreactivity (IR) of activated astrocytes (GFAP) and microglia (Iba-1) in different brain areas. Finally, comparisons of solubility and permeability of Cur and SLCP were made in cultured N2a cells and in primary hippocampal neurons derived from E16 pups of 5xFAD mice.
We observed that relative to Cur, SLCP was more permeable, labeled Aβ plaques more effectively, and produced a larger decrease in Aβ plaque loads in PFC and dentate gyrus (DG) of hippocampus. Similarly, relative to Cur, SLCP produced a larger decrease of pyknotic, or tangle-like, neurons in PFC, CA1, and CA3 areas of hippocampus after 5 days of treatment. Both Cur and or SLCP significantly reduced GFAP-IR and Iba-1-IR in PFC, in the striatum as well as CA1, CA3, DG, subicular complex of hippocampus, and the entorhinal cortex in the 5xFAD mice after 5 days of treatment.
The use of SLCP provides more anti-amyloid, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective outcomes than does Cur in the 5xFAD mouse model of AD.