Affiliations: Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience
Award: Woodrow Wilson
Curcumin protects axons from degeneration in the setting of local neuroinflammation
Axon degeneration is a hallmark of several central nervous system (CNS) disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Previous neuroprotective approaches have mainly focused on reversal or prevention of neuronal cell body degeneration or death. Curcumin, a compound with both anti-oxidant and JNK inhibitory properties, specifically protects axons, but not neuronal cell bodies, from NO-mediated degeneration. Overall, our platform provides mechanistic insights into local axon degeneration, identifies curcumin as a novel axon protectant in the setting of neuroinflammation, and allows for ready screening of axon protective drugs.
Mentor: Dr. Arun Venkatesan, Department of Neurology, SOM