Pharmaceutical biology

Reduction of metabolic and behavioral signs of acute stress in male Wistar rats by saffron water extract and its constituent safranal.

PMID 21592014


Saffron extract can inhibit the metabolic disorders induced by stress but the mechanism of action of saffron extract in the central nervous system is not clear. The present research investigated the effects of saffron water extract and its constituent, safranal on the behavioral and metabolic signs induced by electroshock stress in male Wistar rats (W: 250-300 g). Dried saffron material and maceration method was used for extraction. Animals received intra-amygdala (1, 5, and 10 µg/rat) or intraperitoneal (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg) administration of the extract, safranal (Fluka, Germany), or saline 5 or 30 min before stress induction, respectively. The result showed that stress elevated the corticosterone plasma (115 nmol/L) concentration in the control and intra-amygdala (1, 5, and 10 µg/rat)-treated groups but not in groups that received extract or safranal (55 nmol/L) intraperitoneally (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg). Moreover, anorexia was reduced only in groups that received the extract (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg) or safranal (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg) intraperitoneally (50 sec). Stress increased sniffing, rearing, locomotion, and coping time, which were decreased by intraperitoneal (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg) but not by intra-amygdala (1, 5, and 10 µg/rat) administration of saffron extract and safranal. The results revealed that saffron water extract and safranal had an important impact on the reduction of both metabolic and behavioral signs of stress in male Wistar rats. Moreover, the involvement of the amygdala in this observation can be ruled out.

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Safranal, ≥90%, stabilized