Over the last two decades, in particular, scientists have been intensifying their studies into the surprising benefits of Saffron, the stigma of the Crocus sativus that have been used as a remedy against various discomforts, wounds, diseases and ailments related to old age.
One area of interest that has seen progress definitively is the battle against Retina Degeneration and ischemic damage. Most fields of research start with tests on animals such as mice and rats. The effects of the application of Saffron, and in this case the active ingredient Crocetin, has indeed been tested first in mice but afterwards, the results have been tested further in human beings. In the present article, the Japanese researchers show their findings in mice. It provides an insight into what might be possible when this very active component of the Crocus sativus Saffron spice is applied in humans.
There is more to come in articles on this subject in the coming weeks. Below you may read the abstract, a picture of which is also provided, as well as the link to the website of Science Direct, linking to the European Journal of Pharmacology.
Molecular and cellular pharmacology
Crocetin, a carotenoid derivative, inhibits retinal ischemic damage in mice
Crocetin, an aglycone of crocin, is found both in the saffron crocus (Crocus stativus L.) and in gardenia fruit (Gardenia jasminoides Ellis). We evaluated the protective effects of crocetin against the retinal ischemia induced by 5 h unilateral ligation of both the pterygopalatine artery (PPA) and the external carotid artery (ECA) in anaesthetized mice. The effects of crocetin (20 mg/kg, p.o.) on ischemia/reperfusion-induced retinal damage were examined by histological, electrophysiological, and anti-apoptotic analyses. Data for anti-apoptotic analysis was obtained by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) staining. Using immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting, the protective mechanism mediating the effects of crocetin was evaluated by examining crocetin's effects on the expression of 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG; used as a marker of oxidative stress) and on phosphorylations of mitogen-activated protein kinases [MAPK; viz. extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (ERK), c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and p38], and the redox-sensitive transcription factors nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) and c-Jun. The histological analysis revealed that ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) decreased the cell number in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) and the thickness of the inner nuclear layer (INL), and that crocetin inhibited GCL and INL. ERG measurements revealed that crocetin prevented the I/R-induced reductions in a- and b-wave amplitudes seen at 5 days after I/R. In addition, crocetin decreased the numbers of TUNEL-positive cells and 8-OHdG-positive cells, and the phosphorylation levels of p38, JNK, NF-κB, and c-Jun present in the retina after I/R. These findings indicate that crocetin prevented ischemia-induced retinal damage through its inhibition of oxidative stress.
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