Effects of crocin on inflammatory biomarkers and mental health status in patients with multiple sclerosis: A randomized, double-blinded clinical trial

Ebrahim Kouchaki, Hossein Rafiei, Amir Ghaderi, Mohammad Javad Azadchehr, Fateme Safa, Kosar Omidian, Adeleh Khodabakhshi, Farhad Vahid, Bahador Rezapoor-Kafteroodi, Hamid Reza Banafshe, Nasim Safa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS), as a demyelinating disease correlated with inflammation and oxidative stress, affects the central nervous system and causes a wide range of complications, including psychiatric disorders. Considering the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties associated with the bioactive components of saffron, such as crocin (trans-crocetin bis(β-d-gentiobiosyl) ester), and their potential impact on ameliorating psychiatric symptoms, our study aimed to investigate the effect of crocin on biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and mental health, e.g., depression and anxiety in individuals with MS. Method: Patients with MS were randomized into two groups, taking either 15 mg crocin tablets twice a day (n = 25; 30 mg/day) or placebo tablets (n = 25) for 8 weeks. The valid and reliable Beck depression and anxiety scale questionnaire was recorded, and fasting blood samples were collected to measure biomarkers, including high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), malondialdehyde (MDA), and nitric oxide (NO) at baseline and week 8 following the intervention. Results: The data analysis using ANCOVA showed that supplementation with crocin for 8 weeks significantly lowered hs-CRP levels (p-value= 0.01). In addition, within-group comparisons showed crocin significantly decreased anxiety (p-value= 0.01). However, crocin did not affect serum MDA and NO after 8 weeks of intervention. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that crocin may keep promise in attenuating inflammation, evidenced by reducing hs-CRP in patients with MS. However, supplementation for 8 weeks may not be sufficient to improve mental health, and future clinical studies with higher sample sizes and various doses and durations are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105454
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Volume83
Early online date20 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Immune dysregulation
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Neuropsychiatric
  • Oxidative stress
  • Saffron

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