Effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) stigma extract and its active constituent crocin on neuropathic pain responses in a rat model of chronic constriction injury
Hossein Ali Safakhah
Abbas Ali Vafaei
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© 2016 by School of Pharmacy Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services. This study was designed to investigate the therapeutic effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) and its main constituent crocin on neuropathic pain behavioral responses induced by chronic constriction injury (CCI) in rats. Adult male Wistar rats (200 to 250 g) were randomly assigned into 5 groups: Sham + saline, CCI + saline, CCI+ saffron (30 mg/kg), CCI + crocin (15 mg/ kg) and CCI + crocin (30 mg/kg). CCI was induced by applying 4 loose ligatures around the sciatic nerve. Two weeks after nerve lesion, injections of saline, saffron or crocin were started and continued until 26 th day post-surgery. Pain behavioral responses including mechanical allodynia (von Frey filament testing) and thermal hyperalgesia were measured in 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, and 40 th days after CCI. CCI significantly increased pain behavioral responses. Saffron and crocin (30 mg/kg) decreased thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia on day 26, and this effect continued until the day 40. Crocin at lower dose (15 mg/kg) was ineffective. These findings indicate that treatment of saffron and crocin after CCI may have a therapeutic effect against neuropathic pain, suggesting that these substances may offer new strategies for the treatment of this highly debilitating condition.