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Curcumin and sertraline prevent the reduction of the number of neurons and glial cells and the volume of rats’ medial prefrontal cortex induced by stress

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Chronic stress induces morphological changes in the neurons of several brain regions, including medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). This region is involved in variety of behavioral tasks, including learning and memory. Our previous work showed that stress impaired function. The present work extends the earlier work to study mPFC in stressed and non-stressed rats with or without sertraline or curcumin treatments using stereological methods. Sertraline is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and curcumin is the main ingredient of turmeric with neuroprotective effects. In this study, 42 male rats were randomly assigned to seven groups: stress + distilled water, stress + olive oil, stress + curcumin (100 mg/kg/day), stress + sertraline (10 mg/kg/day), curcumin, sertraline, and control groups. After 56 days, the right mPFC was removed. The volume of mPFC and its subdivisions and the total number of neurons and glia were estimated. The results showed ~8%, ~8%, and 24% decrease in the volume of the mPFC and its prelimbic and infralimbic subdivisions, respectively. However, the anterior cingulated cortex remained unchanged. Also, the total number of the neurons and glial cells was significantly reduced (11% and 5%, respectively) in stress (+distilled water or olive oil) group in comparison to the non-stressed rats (P<0.01). However, no significant reduction was observed in the volume of the mPFC and its subdivisions as well as the total number of the neurons and glial cells in stress + sertraline and stress + curcumin groups in comparison to the non-treated stressed rats (P<0.01). The result indicated that treatment of rats with curcumin and sertraline could prevent the stress-induced changes in mPFC.
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  • Histomorphometry and Stereology Research Centre, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Anatomy Department, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Anatomy Department, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Anatomy Department, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Anatomy Department, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Histomorphometry and Stereology Research Centre, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Anatomy Department, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
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