Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #273713

Title: Curcumin-supplemented diets increase superoxide dismutase activity and mean lifespan in Drosophila

item SHEN, LIRONG - Zhejiang University
item XIAO, FA - Zhejiang University
item PENG, YUAN - Zhejiang University
item CHEN, YING - Zhejiang University
item QI-KANG, GAO - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Parnell, Laurence
item Meydani, Mohsen
item Ordovas, Jose
item LI, DUO - Zhejian University
item Lai, Chao Qiang

Submitted to: Journal of the American Aging Association (AGE)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2012
Publication Date: 8/1/2013
Citation: Shen, L., Xiao, F., Peng, Y., Chen, Y., Qi-Kang, G., Parnell, L.D., Meydani, M., Ordovas, J.M., Li, D., Lai, C. 2013. Curcumin-supplemented diets increase superoxide dismutase activity and mean lifespan in Drosophila. Journal of the American Aging Association (AGE). 35(4):1133-1142. DOI 10.1007/s11357-012-9438-2.

Interpretive Summary: Curcumin, a widely used spice, herbal medicine and food additive throughout the world, has many potential beneficial effects on human health, including prevention of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and slowing down the process of aging. However, it is not clear if curcumin can extend lifespan and the precise mechanism by which curcumin could benefit human health is not understood. Thus, in this study, we fed the common fruit fly Drosophila, a widely used model of aging, diets supplemented with curcumin, and determined if the lifespan of the flies and biochemical measure of normal aging were affected. Our results showed that curcumin supplementation increased mean lifespan of Drosophila and reduced the level of indicators of oxidative stress. Importantly, these results suggest that curcumin may increase mean lifespan of Drosophila by reducing the oxidative stress.

Technical Abstract: Curcumin is an antioxidant extracted from the root of the turmeric plant. We examined the antioxidant effect and lifespan extension of curcumin in Drosophila. To ascertain the antioxidant effects of curcumin with regard to lifespan extension and the response to reactive oxygen species, female and male Drosophila were fed diets supplemented with curcumin extract with 0 (CK), 0.5 (C1) or 1.0 (C2) mg in 1 g diet. Levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), indicative of the response to ROS, in females and males were analyzed. The C1 and C2 diets increased mean lifespan by 6.2% and 25.8% in females, and by 15.5% and 12.6% in males. In addition, these two diets significantly decreased MDA accumulation and increased SOD activity in both genders. One mg curcumin per gram of food is a more effective dose for lifespan extension and improving levels of the two physical and biochemical measures related to aging in Drosophila. The present study suggests that there exists a relationship between lifespan extension and antioxidant effect of curcumin in Drosophila.