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Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on recent research on the chemical composition and pharmacological activities of saffron (Crocus sativus) and its active constituents, mainly as antitumoral, hypolipidemic and tissue oxygenation enhancement agents.
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... It is observed that most of the studies in the world have been done on C. sativus species (Negbi et al., 1989;Rios et al., 1996;Bhargava, 2011). Rudall and Mathew (1990) have studied Crocus in terms of leaf anatomy, and many researchers now refer to this work in leaf studies. ...
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In this study; the two Crocus L. taxa endemic to Bolu province, Crocus abantensis T. Baytop et Mathew and Crocus× paulineae Pasche & Kerndorff (hybrid) together with C. ancyrensis (Herbert) Maw subsp. ancyrensis, and C. olivieri J.Gay, were used to reveal their detailed leaf anatomical features. In view of these characteristics, it was aimed to determine the true parents of the hybrid and possible other hybrid taxa distributed in the south-southeast coasts Abant Lake. These two Crocus taxa, which are endemic to this region, have no previous anatomical studies. In this sense, deficiencies related to Crocus taxonomy have been completed. The main differences of C. × paulineae from the other taxa; having the thickest cuticle (3.80 µm), the longest parenchyma (20.93 µm) cell in the mesophyll, and having papillae like structure on the keel corners of cuticle. This structure was also observed in C. olivieri over the cuticle at the corners of the keel. The other important differences was the number of small vascular bundles among the studied taxa. The chromosomal number of hybrid was also given for the first time.
... Crocus sativus is one of the most expensive spice and also has medicinal value due to the presence of important apocarotenoids like crocetin esters, picrocrocin, and safranal [34]. Despite its great importance, saffron comes under neglected and minor crops due to limited genetic resources and information to be utilized in the improvement program of this crop [35]. ...
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Background Saffron (Crocus sativus) is high valued spice crop, but due to its sterile nature, the crop is propagated exclusively through corms. Thus, the genetic base of this crop is very narrow, however, frequency of phenotypic variability is observed; and suggested the potential role of epigenetics in saffron crop growth and development. Methods and results To facilitate epigenetic studies in saffron, we developed 1525 methylation-specific PCR (MSP) markers using MethPrimer. For this purpose, we used 6767 EST sequences of saffron available on the NCBI database. We also mine CpG islands (2555) and found that 32.7% of EST sequences had CpG islands. Out of 1525 MSP markers developed during the present study, 725 covered the CpG islands and 800 were without CpG islands. PCR amplification was found successful for 82% of MSP markers. A preliminary analysis suggested that 53.7% of genomic sites were methylated and more prominent (60% methylations) in non-CpG island regions, although, more comprehensive studies are required to validate it further. Conclusions The epigenetic resource developed during the present study will strengthen the epigenetic studies like epiQTL mapping, epiGWAS to explore the molecular mechanisms and genomic/epigenomic regions associated with phenotype; and further may be utilized for saffron improvement programs through epibreeding.
... It contains three main chemical components: the glycosyl esters of crocetin (crocins) belonging to the carotenoids family and responsible for the bright yellow-red dye of saffron stigmas, picrocrocin (glycoside of safranal) that is responsible for the bitter taste, however, the characteristic aroma of saffron is due to safranal (monoterpene aldehyde) [7][8][9]. Crocins (C 44 H 64 O 24 ) are water-soluble carotenoids that give saffron its distinct and unique color and are one of the few families of carotenoids found in nature that is freely soluble in water [10][11][12]. Picrocrocin (4 -(β -D -glucopyranosyloxy) − 2,6,6 -trimethy l -1cyclohexene − 1-carboxaldehyde, C 16 H 26 O 7 ) is thought to be the foremost contributor to the bitter taste of saffron. ...
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Fourier transform infrared spectra of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) samples were acquired using attenuated total reflectance (ATR-FTIR). The main objective of the study was to determine the chemical composition of 11 samples of saffron collected from different areas in Morocco using the chemometric analysis of ATR-FTIR fingerprints and identifying the adulterated saffron among samples bought from local markets in different countries (Spain, Iran, and Morocco). The the authenticity and the purity of saffron samples was validated through a molecular analysis (DNA barcoding coupled to sequencing) and chromatographic analysis GC-MS. The results of ATR-FTIR showed vibration intensities of six distinct fingerprint regions displaying statistically significant differences. The spectrum of the sample from Timjicht (Taznakht) showed typical bands due to the vibration in 3000-2800 cm⁻¹ (the richest in carbohydrates, lipids, and amino acids) and 1800 to 1725 cm⁻¹ region (the richest in carbonyl and ester groups) and was classified a single subset in samples scatter plot. Then samples from Boulmane (S2), Ain Leuh (S3), Taliouine (S6), and Taznakht (S7-S8) were classified close to each other, which indicates the similarity in their vibration intensities mainly in the region of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and esters. Similarities in terms of proteins and hydroxyl groups were revealed between the samples from El Mers (S11) and Taliouine (S1). Finally, the last sub-group contained samples from Ourika, Azilal and Ain Atia, which showed low composition in all components. Furthermore, to detect adulterated saffron from samples of unknown origin, a comparison of the ATR-FTIR spectra were carried out with spectra of pure saffron and results showed that the peaks at 1706, 1732, and 1225 cm⁻¹ (linked to crocin which are present primarily in saffron) were absent in one sample (SI). Interestingly, the use of another plant species named Arrhenatherum elatius as materiel for saffron adulteration was confirmed by the molecular study (DNA barcoding) and chromatographic analysis GC-MS
... Crocus sativus L., often known as saffron, is a perennial stemless herb in the Iridaceae family that is mostly farmed in Spain and Iran, but also in Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, France, Italy, India, and China on a lesser level [18]. In folk medicine, saffron was used as an antispasmodic, eupeptic, gingival sedative, anticatarrhal, nerve sedative, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, and aphrodisiac [19]. Saffron extracts and active components have anticonvulsant [20], antidepressant [21], anti-inflammatory [22], and antitumor properties [23]. ...
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This study aimed to investigate the antidepressant property of crocin (Crocetin digentiobiose ester) using a chronic mild stress (CMS)-induced depression model in experimental mice. The tail suspension test (TST) and the sucrose preference test were used to evaluate the antidepressant effect on albino mice of either sex after three weeks of CMS. The period of immobility in the TST and percentage preference for sucrose solution were recorded. By monitoring brain malondialdehyde (MDA) level, catalase (CAT) activity, and reduced glutathione (GSH) level, the antioxidant potential was assessed. Three dosages of crocin (4.84, 9.69, and 19.38 mg/kg) were evaluated. When compared to controls, animals that received crocin administration during three periods of CMS had considerably shorter immobility times during the TST. Crocin treatment also raised the percentage preference for sucrose solution in a dose-dependent manner, bringing it to parity with the conventional antidepressant, imipramine. Animals that received a high dose of crocin had a much greater spontaneous locomotor activity. Furthermore, a high dose of crocin remarkably lowered plasma corticosterone and nitrite levels brought on by CMS. Additionally, high doses of crocin given during CMS greatly enhanced reduced glutathione levels while considerably reducing the brain’s MDA and catalase activities. In conclusion, high doses of crocin may have an antidepressant effect in an animal model through several mechanisms. However, further studies should be carried out to explore the role of neurotransmitters for their antidepressant property.
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Introduction: Today, skin flaps are used in many reconstructive surgeries and healing of skin lesions as one of the main methods of treatment. Despite improvements in the fields related to enhancement of skin flap survival, flaps viability and their efficacy are still threatened with issues such as ischemia-reperfusion, oxidative stress, tissue necrosis, and even apoptosis in the affected tissue. Therefore, these threats suggest that research and development areas are needed to increase the survival rate of skin flaps and protect them from mentioned injuries, and efforts should be taken to manage or eliminate these threats. We evaluated the effect of saffron administration, before and after skin flap surgery, on tissue necrosis percentage and oxidative stress in rats. Materials and Methods: Saffron (40 mg/kg/day or 80 mg/kg/day) was administered as gavage for two weeks before and one week after flap surgery in mice. One week after surgery, the percentage of necrosis of the flap (by measuring and dividing the necrotic area over the entire length of the flap, malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and catalase (CAT) activity were measured. Results: Treatment with saffron, before and after surgery, in both doses resulted in a decrease in flap necrosis (P<0.01) in comparison to the control group. The level of MDA as an appearance of lipid peroxidation had been reduced. Catalase activity was also increased as an appearance of antioxidant activity (P<0.01). Conclusion: Notably, these data showed improvement of skin flap survival and reduction of oxidative stress by saffron treatment before and after surgery. Keywords: Crocus, Surgical Flaps, Necrosis, Oxidative Stress, Reperfusion Injury
Chapter
Crocus sativus L. or Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and is also used as a coloring and flavoring agent. In several cultures and civilizations, saffron is known for its various therapeutic properties. Research in ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology focuses on the medicinal potential of plants in several populations and a better understanding of the use of plants by humans. The exploitation of these data can help in the development of new modern drugs and alternative therapeutic approaches. The healing and culinary peculiarities of saffron are related to the presence of four major bioactive compounds, which are crocin, crocetin, picrocrocin, and safranal. In this current chapter, we discuss therapeutic applications of saffron mainly linked to the abundant metabolites. A large number of studies reported the antioxidant potential of saffron, which involves its antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. Moreover, a neuroprotective activity of saffron was widely assessed in neurodegenerative diseases like depression, Alzheimer, and schizophrenia, and is particularly attributed to safranal and crocin. We have also noted the therapeutic potential of crocin in neuro-inflammatory diseases and the antibacterial activity of saffron against a few clinical strains. However, the use of saffron must be done with great care to avoid any possible toxicity.Keywords Saffron Crocus sativus L. Metabolites Crocin Safranal Therapeutic application Neuroprotective effects
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Paraquat (PQ) herbicide poisoning is a severe medical problem in developing countries without suitable therapy. This study aimed to investigate the effects of crocin (CCN) and nano crocin (NCCN) on PQ -induced toxicity in the MRC-5 cell line. The results showed that the particle size of NCCN was 140.3 ± 18.0 nm, and the zeta potential of the optimal crocin-loaded niosomes was 23.4 ± 2.8 mV. The NCCN was more effective than CCN in the inhibition of PQ-induced toxicity. Treatment of the MRC-5 cells leads to a decrease in ROS and an increase in SOD, CAT, GPX, and TAC levels in PQ-CCN and PQ-NCCN groups compared with the PQ group. These changes tended to be positively associated with the NCCN compared to CCN. Overall, NCCN was more effective than crocin in treating PQ-induced toxicity in vitro and deserved further preclinical consideration.
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Introduction: Evidence shows that secondary metabolites of saffron can be used in the formulation of new drugs for the treatment of various human cancers. It is demonstrated that saffron crocin inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells while having no inhibition effect on the growth of normal cells. Consumption of this substance also reduces the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. Therefore, the present study was performed to investigate the effect of crocin on the proliferation and apoptosis of breast cancer cells and determine its molecular mechanism. Material & Methods: Initially, MCF7 breast cancer cells were prepared from the Pasteur Institute of Iran Cell Bank and cultured in RPMI1640 medium with FBS 10%. To determine the effect of crocin toxicity on cancer cells, treatment was conducted at different concentrations and different hours, and (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was performed. The cell proliferation or cell apoptosis was evaluated as well. DAPI staining was performed to demonstrate cell apoptosis. After RNA extraction and cDNA preparation, the expression of an apoptosis-related gene (PTEN) and Akt pathway genes were measured by Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to determine the mechanism of the crocin effect. Findings: Results of the MTT assay showed that crocin inhibited the proliferation of MCF7 cells and induced apoptosis in these cells. In addition, real-time PCR results showed that crocin increased PTEN gene expression (P=0.041) in MCF7 breast cancer cells and significantly decreased Akt1 gene expression (P=0.038). Discussion & Conclusion: The results indicate that crocin stimulates the apoptotic cells in MCF7 breast cancer cells and can be used as a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of breast cancer.
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The study of pharmacological properties of saffron and its effective substances is important considering its clinical and health applications. Arterial and venous blood clot embolism is the most common cause of death worldwide, and cardiovascular disease currently accounts for almost half of all non-communicable diseases. Saffron is one of the medicinal plants used in Iranian medicine to treat heart disease. In this regard, according to reports on lipid peroxidation in platelet membranes and inhibition of platelet adhesion in the blood of healthy people by the use of saffron. In this regard, an experiment was performed to investigate the effect of saffron style extract on blood coagulation process in rats. In a 21-day period, the effect of concentrations of 15, 25 and 50 mg/kg of aqueous extract of saffron style in eight replicates on the parameters of prothrombin (PT), relative thromboplastin time (APPT) and coagulation time (CT) One-month-old male rats were studied in the laboratory of the Faculty of Basic Sciences of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and the results were analyzed by t-test. Concentration of 50 mg/kg caused a significant increase in prothrombin time. In measuring thromboplastin time, the concentration of 25 aqueous extracts of saffron style made a significant difference at the level of 5% compared to the control. Blood coagulation time in all treatments was 7 seconds. Treatment of 15 mg/kg aqueous extract of saffron straw caused a significant reduction (at the level of 5%) in the number of blood platelets. The findings of this study show the coagulation effect of aqueous extract of saffron style and can be helpful for the optimal clinical use of saffron and also in conducting additional research in this field.
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Different methods for the separation of crocetin glycosyl esters from the ethanolic extract of saffron by high-performance liquid chromatography are discussed. After a clean-up by gel filtrationl on Sephadex G-50, best results were obtained with LiChrosorb SI 60 as stationary phase and ethyl acetate-isopropanol-water (56:34:10) as mobile phase.
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