Abstract: The negative impact of diabetes on the retinal, renal, nervous and cardiovascular systems is well recognized yet little is known about the effect of this disease on the liver. Oxidative stress is currently suggested as a mechanism underlying diabetes mellitus complications. The present study was designed to assess the liver injury as a complication of diabetes mellitus and to evaluate the hepaoprotective properties of ethanolic extract of Saffron (dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L.) in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in rats. Aminotransferases, Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) were measured to determine the concentration of intracellular hepatic enzymes that have leaked into the circulation and serve as a marker of hepatocyte injury. Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) and bilirubin were measured to assess biliary function. Albumin was measured to reflect liver synthetic function. The lipid peroxidation product, Malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced Glutathione (GSH) content was measured to assess free radical activity in the liver tissues. The enzymatic activities of Glutathione Peroxidase (GSH-Px), Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and Catalase (CAT) were measured as indicators of antioxidation in liver tissue. Moreover, histopathological observations were assayed at the degree of hepatic injury. For this purpose, male Wistar rats were made diabetic with a single injection of STZ (75 mg kg-1 i.p.). Rats were randomly separated into four groups, each containing 10 animals: Group 1, healthy control rats; Group 2 non-diabetic rats were treated with 40 mg kg-1 b.w./day intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of Saffron extract; Group 3, diabetic rats; Group 4, diabetic rats were treated with saffron extract (40 mg kg-1 b.w./day, i.p.) for a period of 8 weeks. At the end of the experiment, MDA contents of the liver tissue and serum levels of ALT, AST, AP and bilirubin in Groups 3 were found to be significantly increased as compared to Group 1 (p<0.05) and these serum biomarkers of hepatic injury and liver MDA level in Group 4 were significantly decreased as compared to Group 3 (p<0.05). The GSH, SOD, CAT and GSH-Px contents of the liver and serum albumin level in Group 3 was significantly decreased as compared to Group 1 (p<0.05) and were found to be significantly increased in Group 4 as compared to Groups 3 (p<0.05). Histopathological changes were in agreement with biochemical findings. Based on these findings, it is presumed that ethanolic extract of C. sativus L. stigma may have the hepatoprotective effect in experimentally induced diabetic rats. Researchers suggest that saffron extract has beneficial effects on antioxidant defence of diabetic liver tissue.
Mohammad Rahbani, Daryoush Mohajeri, Ali Rezaie and Mehrdad Nazeri, 2012. Protective Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Saffron (Dried Stigmas of Crocus sativus L.) on Hepatic Tissue Injury in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 11: 1985-1994.