Activity of Antioxidants from Crocus sativus L. Petals: Potential Preventive Effects towards Cardiovascular System


The petals of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus L.) are considered a waste material in saffron production, but may be a sustainable source of natural biologically active substances of nutraceutical interest. The aim of this work was to study the cardiovascular effects of kaempferol and crocin extracted from saffron petals. The antiarrhythmic, inotropic, and chronotropic effects of saffron petal extract (SPE), kaempferol, and crocin were evaluated through in vitro biological assays. The antioxidant activity of kaempferol and crocin was investigated through the 2' ,7' -dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay using rat cardiomyoblast cell line H9c2. The MTT assay was applied to assess the effects of kaempferol and crocin on cell viability. SPE showed weak negative inotropic and chronotropic intrinsic activities but a significant intrinsic activity on smooth muscle with a potency on the ileum greater than on the aorta: EC50 = 0.66 mg/mL versus EC50 = 1.45 mg/mL. Kaempferol and crocin showed a selective negative inotropic activity. In addition, kaempferol decreased the contraction induced by KCl (80 mM) in guinea pig aortic and ileal strips, while crocin had no effect. Furthermore, following oxidative stress, both crocin and kaempferol decreased intracellular ROS formation and increased cell viability in a concentration-dependent manner. The results indicate that SPE, a by-product of saffron cultivation, may represent a good source of phytochemicals with a potential application in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.


Collaboration between DMU and University of Cambridge, University of Bologna, University of L’Aquila, La Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Camerino. open access article


cardiovascular prevention, nutraceuticals, crocin, Crocus sativus L. petals, kaempferol


Zeka, K., Marrazzo, P., Micucci, M., Ruparelia, K.C., Arroo, R.R.J., Macchiarelli, G., Nottola, S.A., Continenza, M.A., Chiarini, A., Angeloni, C., Hrelia, S., Budriesi, R. (2020) Activity of antioxidants from Crocus sativus L. petals: potential preventive effects towards cardiovascular system. Antioxidants 9 (11), 1102.


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Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)