Spice Compound Boosts Brain Stem Cells
A compound found in the popular curry spice turmeric has been shown to promote stem cell proliferation and differentiation in the brain.
Aromatic (ar-) turmerone, a bioactive compound found in the curry spice turmeric, has been shown to promote stem cell proliferation and differentiation in the brain. Adele Rueger and colleagues from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Jülich, Germany, investigated the effects of ar-turmerone on neural stem cell proliferation (NSC) and differentiation both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, ar-turmerone was shown to increase NSC proliferation by up to 80%. Furthermore, cell differentiation was also seen to accelerate in ar-turmerone-treated cells compared to untreated control cells. To test ar-turmerone in vivo, the researchers injected adult rats with ar-turmerone. Imaging showed that the subventricular zone (SVZ) was wider, and the hippocampus expanded, in the brains of rats injected with ar-turmerone than in control animals. The researchers say that the findings suggest that ar-turmerone could be a future drug candidate for treating neurological illnesses, such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Graf R, Fink GR, Schroeter M, Rueger MA. Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Stem Cell Research & Therapy. 2014;5:100.