Hocking, A. J., Elliot, D., Hua, J. et al. 2018. Administering fixed oral doses of curcumin to rats through voluntary consumption. JAALAS 57(5), 508–512.
Curcumin, a polyphenol derived from turmeric, has a wide variety of therapeutic benefits including antiinflammatory, antioxidative, and chemopreventative effects. Oral gavage is widely performed to administer curcumin in laboratory rodents in several experimental models. Although effective, this method can increase stress in the animal, potentially influencing experimental results. Moreover, oral gavage can result in mortality due to accidental instillation of fluid into the lungs, serious mechanical damage, and gavage-related reflux. Here we describe a method for the administration of fixed dosages of curcumin to rats through voluntary consumption of peanut butter, to reduce gavage-related morbidity and distress to animals and to provide environmental enrichment. Fischer 344 (n = 6) rats received 1100 mg/kg of a commercial curcumin product (equivalent to approximately 200 mg/kg of curcumin) in 8 g/kg of peanut butter daily for 5 wk. Curcumin concentrations in rat plasma were measured by using UPLC–MS at 2 to 4 h after administration. All rats voluntarily consumed the peanut butter–curcumin mixture consistently over the 5-wk period. Total curcumin concentrations in plasma samples collected 2 to 4 h after curcumin consumption were 171 ± 48.4 ng/mL (mean ± 1 SD; range, 103 to 240 ng/mL). This noninvasive curcumin delivery method was effective, eliminated the stress caused by daily oral gavage, and added environmental enrichment.