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Effect of saffron (stigma of Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract on ethanol toxicity in rats: A biochemical, histopathological and molecular study

Rezaee-Khorasany, Alireza, Razavi, Bibi Marjan, Taghiabadi, Elahe, Tabatabaei Yazdi, Abbas, Hosseinzadeh, Hossein
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2019 v.237 pp. 286-299
Crocus sativus, Western blotting, anti-inflammatory activity, antioxidants, apoptosis, biomarkers, caspase-3, ethanol, hepatotoxicity, histopathology, inflammation, interleukin-6, kidneys, laboratory animals, liver, males, messenger RNA, nephrotoxicity, oxidative stress, protective effect, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rats, saffron, sedatives, stigma, stomach, traditional medicine, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, uterus
Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is considered in the Iranian traditional medicine because of many therapeutic properties such as sedative agent, strengthen the stomach and liver, improving the uterus disorders and infectious wounds. The detoxification of alcohol was one of the most important of saffron effects in ancient medicine.In the current research, the protective effects of saffron aqueous extract (Aq. Ext.) versus oxidative stress, apoptosis, inflammation, histopathological and biochemical abnormalities induced by ethanol were evaluated.The male Wistar rats were divided into seven groups consisted of 6 rats in control (distilled water), ethanol (5 g/kg - 50% v/v), Aq. Ext. (40, 80 and 160 mg/kg) plus ethanol, Aq. Ext. 80 and 160 mg/kg. Animals were treated for four weeks and at the end of treatment period, histopathological damages, biochemical markers, apoptosis, levels of MDA and GSH, TNF-α and IL-6 were evaluated.Ethanol induced nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity as evidenced by histopathological damages and biochemical abnormalities. The level of MDA was significantly enhanced while GSH content was remarkably reduced in ethanol-treated rats, but protective groups restored them. Also, the levels of TNF-α and IL-6 were regulated by Aq. Ext. Furthermore, the effects of ethanol on histopathological and biochemical parameters were improved by Aq. Ext. The ethanol increased the expression of Bax/Bcl2 ratio, caspase-3, -8, and -9. Real-time PCR and western blot analysis proved that Aq. Ext. treatment inhibited apoptosis induced by ethanol through decreasing the Bax/Bcl2 ratio (mRNA and protein) and caspases-3, -8, and -9 levels in the kidney and liver.The results of this research demonstrated that Aq. Ext. could exert protective effects against ethanol toxicity in rat kidney and liver via antioxidant, anti-apoptosis, and anti-inflammatory effects.