Tuesday, August 30, 2011 (Last Updated: 08/31/2011)
TUESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Saffron reduces the number and incidence of hepatic dyschromatic nodules and the number and area of placental glutathione S-transferase-positive foci in livers of diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-treated rats, according to an experimental study published online July 19 in Hepatology.
Amr Amin, Ph.D., from the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, and colleagues investigated the chemopreventive action and possible mechanism of saffron against DEN-induced liver cancer in rats. The rats were started on 75, 150, and 300 mg/kg/day of saffron, two weeks prior to DEN injection, and continued for 22 weeks. The rats were anesthetized 24 hours after the last DEN injection, and biochemical markers were estimated from blood collected from retro-orbital plexus.
The investigators found that the DEN-induced increase in the number and incidence of hepatic dyschromatic nodules was significantly reduced with saffron. The livers of DEN-treated rats showed a decrease in the number and area of placental glutathione S-transferase-positive foci with saffron. The levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione-S-transferase were restored by saffron, while myeloperoxidase activity, and formation of malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl in the liver were reduced by saffron. Immunohistochemical staining of rat livers showed that DEN-mediated elevations in the number of cells positive for Ki-67, cyclooxygenase-2, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nuclear factor-kappa B p-65, and phosphorylated tumor necrosis factor receptor were inhibited by saffron. In DEN-treated rats, saffron blocked the M30 CytoDeath in liver tissues, as well as the depletion in number of cells positive for terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling. These findings were confirmed by in vitro experiments with HepG2 cells.
"Saffron exerts a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer through inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis," the authors write.
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