Paclitaxel (PTX) is an antineoplastic agent commonly used in the treatment of solid tumors and is known to cause dose-limiting peripheral neurotoxicity. This study was performed to evaluate the protective effect of curcumin (CUR) against PTX-induced spinal cord and sciatic nerve injuries in rats. The rats were administered PTX (2 mg/kg, BW) intraperitoneally for the first 5 consecutive days followed by administration of CUR (100 and 200 mg/kg, BW daily in corn oil) orally for 10 days. Our results showed that CUR significantly reduced mRNA expression levels of NF-kappa B, TNF-alpha, IL-6, iNOS and GFAP whereas caused an increase in levels of Nrf2, HO-1 and NQO1 in the spinal cord and sciatic nerve of PTX-induced rats. In addition, CUR suppressed the activation of apoptotic and autophagic pathways by increasing Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and decreasing p53, caspase-3, Apaf-1, LC3A, LC3B and beclin-1 mRNA expression levels. The results showed that CUR also maintained the spinal cord and sciatic nerve histological architecture and integrity by both LFB staining and H&E staining. Immunohistochemical expressions of 8-OHdG, caspase-3 and LC3B in the PTX-induced spinal cord tissue were decreased after administration of CUR. Taken together, our findings demonstrated that CUR has protective effects on PTX-induced spinal cord and sciatic nerve injuries in rats.