Attenuation of high-fat diet induced metabolic syndrome in rodents treated with Crocus sativus

Panagiotis Konstantopoulos, Aspasia Tzani, Ilias P Doulamis, Angeliki Minia, Asier Antoranz, Afroditi Marina Daskalopoulou, George Marinos, Leonidas Alexopoulos, Despina N Perrea-



Background: Metabolic syndrome is associated with increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Crocus sativus (saffron) is a natural compound known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and its potent lipid- and glucose-lowering effects. We sought to examine the hypothesis that saffron exerts a protective role against metabolic syndrome in high-fat diet fed rodents.
Material and Methods:Thirty adult male C57BL6/J mice were randomly divided into three groups, Control group (n=10), which received normal diet, High-fat (HF) group (n=10), which received a commercial high-fat diet (45% fat), Saffron group (n=10), which followed the same dietary as HF group and was additionally supplemented with saffron (100 mg/kg/day). Metabolic profile as well as arterial blood pressure, serum leptin and IL-1α were measured throughout the study.
Results: 12-week administration of Saffron led to decreased levels of glucose, total and LDL cholesterol when compared with the HF group (186±31 mg/dL vs 231±25 mg/dL, p=0.01, 131±14 mg/dL vs 150±5 mg/dL, p=0.03, and 64±16 mg/dL vs 85±6 mg/dL, p<0.001, respectively). Moreover, at the end of the study, all blood pressure indices –except for HR- were significantly lower in the saffron treated group compared with the HF group (p<0.01 in all cases). Significant differences were noted in the case of leptin and IL-1a during the 8th week (MFIs: 1452±205 vs 2164±318, p<0.001 and 803±65 vs 1140±114, p<0.001, for leptin and IL-1a in HF and Saffron groups, respectively).
Conclusion: Saffron exhibits hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and pressure lowering actions. Yet, further studies unveiling the exact mechanisms of saffron’s mode of actions are required.

Keywords: metabolic syndrome , Crocus Sativus , high fat , diet