Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a motor disorder of the orofacial region resulting from chronic neuroleptic treatment. A high incidence and irreversibility of this hyperkinetic disorder has been considered a major clinical issue in the treatment of schizophrenia. The molecular mechanism related to the pathophysiology of tardive dyskinesia is not completely known. Various animal studies have demonstrated an enhanced oxidative stress and increased glutamatergic transmission as well as inhibition in the glutamate uptake after the chronic administration of haloperidol. The present study investigated the effect of curcumin, an antioxidant, in haloperidol-induced tardive dyskinesia by using different behavioural
(orofacial dyskinetic movements, stereotypy, locomotor activity, % retention), biochemical (lipid peroxidation, reduced glutathione levels, antioxidant enzyme levels (SOD and catalase) and neurochemical (neurotransmitter levels) parameters. Chronic administration of haloperidol (1 mg/kg i.p. for 21 days) significantly increased vacuous chewing movements (VCM's), tongue protrusions, facial jerking in rats which was dose-dependently inhibited by curcumin. Chronic administration of haloperidol also resulted in increased dopamine receptor sensitivity as evident by increased locomotor activity and stereotypy and also decreased % retention time on elevated plus maze paradigm. Pretreatment with curcumin reversed these behavioral changes. Besides, haloperidol also induced oxidative damage in all major regions of brain which was attenuated by curcumin, especially in the subcortical region containing striatum. On chronic administration of haloperidol, there was a decrease in turnover of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in both cortical and subcortical regions which was again dose-dependently reversed by treatment with curcumin. The findings of the present study suggested for the involvement of free radicals in the development of neuroleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia and point to curcumin as a possible therapeutic option to treat this hyperkinetic movement disorder.