Objectives: Curcumin is a molecule found in turmeric root that possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been widely used to treat neurodegenerative diseases. We investigated whether curcumin stimulates the neurorepair process and improves locomotor function in a rat model of spinal cord ischemia-reperfusion injury. Methods: Thirty-two Wistar albino rats (190220 g) were randomly allocated into 4 groups of 8 rats each: 1 sham-operated group and 3 ischemia-reperfusion injury groups that received intraperitoneal injections of saline vehicle, methylprednisolone (MP, 30 mg/kg following induction of ischemia-reperfusion [IR] injury), or curcumin (200 mg/kg for 7 days before induction of IR injury). Spinal cord IR injury was induced by occlusion of the abdominal aorta for 30 minutes. After 24 hours of reperfusion, locomotor function was assessed using the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan scale. All animals were sacrificed. Spinal cord tissues were harvested to evaluate histopathological and ultrastructural alterations and to analyze levels of malondialdehyde, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1 beta, nitric oxide, and caspase-3, as well as enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Results: Intraperitoneal administration of curcumin significantly reduced inflammatory cytokine expression, attenuated oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, prevented apoptosis, and increased antioxidant defense mechanism activity in comparison to treatment with MP or saline. Histopathological and ultrastructural abnormalities were significantly reduced in curcumin-treated rats compared to the MP-and saline-treated groups. Furthermore, curcumin significantly improved locomotor function. Conclusions: Curcumin treatment preserves neuronal viability against inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis associated with ischemia-reperfusion injury. (C) 2016 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.