Crocin, a bioactive constituent of Crocus sativus, alleviates trimethyltin-induced cognitive deficits through down-regulation of hippocampal apoptosis and oxidative stress

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Cellular and Molecular Research Center and Department of Neuroscience, School of Advanced Technology in Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Cellular and Molecular Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Neurophysiology Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background and Objective: Cognitive deficits are associated with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Trimethyltin chloride (TMT) with potent neurotoxicity is used to induce cognitive dysfunction in rodents. Crocin is the main effective component of saffron with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. In the present study, we investigated the effect of crocin on TMT-induced cognitive dysfunction.
Materials and Methods: TMT was i.p. administered (8 mg/kg, once) and crocin was daily given p.o. 1 h after TMT for 3 weeks at doses of 10 or 50 mg/kg. Cognitive performance was assessed in different behavioral tasks. In addition, hippocampal oxidative stress and apoptosis were measured.
Results: Treatment of TMT-challenged rats with crocin (at a dose of 50 mg/kg) prevented deficits of recognition memory in Y maze, discrimination ability in novel object discrimination (NOD) test and conditional learning and memory index in passive avoidance task. Besides, crocin significantly lowered hippocampal level of ROS and improved activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) besides ablation of apoptotic factors including caspase 3 activity and DNA fragmentation.
Conclusion: In conclusion, crocin administration could ameliorate TMT-induced cognitive dysfunction, in part through targeting hippocampal apoptosis and oxidative stress.


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