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Protective Effects of Crocus Sativus L. Extract and Crocin against Chronic-Stress Induced Oxidative Damage of Brain, Liver and Kidneys in Rats

Purpose: Chronic stress has been reported to induce oxidative damage of the brain. A few studies have shown that Crocus Sativus L., commonly known as saffron and its active constituent crocin may have a protective effect against oxidative stress. The present work was designed to study the protective effects of saffron extract and crocin on chronic – stress induced oxidative stress damage of the brain, liver and kidneys.

Methods: Rats were injected with a daily dose of saffron extract (30 mg/kg, IP) or crocin(30 mg/kg, IP) during a period of 21 days following chronic restraint stress (6 h/day). In order to determine the changes of the oxidative stress parameters following chronic stress,the levels of the lipid peroxidation product, malondialdehyde (MDA), the total antioxidant reactivity (TAR), as well as antioxidant enzyme activities glutathione peroxidase (GPx),glutathione reductase (GR) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured in the brain,liver and kidneys tissues after the end of chronic stress.

Results: In the stressed animals that receiving of saline, levels of MDA, and the activities of GPx, GR, and SOD were significantly higher (P<0.0001) and the TAR capacity were significantly lower than those of the non-stressed animals (P<0.0001). Both saffron extract and crocin were able to reverse these changes in the stressed animals as compared with the control groups (P<0.05).

Conclusion: These observations indicate that saffron and its active constituent crocin can prevent chronic stress–induced oxidative stress damage of the brain, liver and kidneys and suggest that these substances may be useful against oxidative stress.