Background & Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the protective effects of Crocin on rat high fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis model.
Methods: For this purpose, male rats were given either standard diet as control, high fat diet for induction of hepatic steatosis and high fat diet plus Crocin through gavage at different doses (25, 50 and 100 mg kg-1/day) for protection of liver steatosis, at a period of 4 weeks in different experimental groups and compared considering serum lipid profile, serum biomarkers of liver tissue injury, hepatic antioxidant activity and liver histopathological changes. The serum levels of triglyceride, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, very low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein for determination of deleterious metabolic effects, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase for determination of hepatocyte injury, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin for assessment of biliary function, malondialdehyde and reduced glutathione content for assessment of liver free radical activity, the enzymatic activities of glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase as indicators of antioxidation in liver tissue, were measured. Finally, the biochemical findings were matched with histopathological verifications.
Results: After 4 weeks, high fat diet caused deleterious metabolic effects, including hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia and liver dysfunction. Rats fed high fat diet alone showed increased activities of hepatocellular enzymes in plasma, significant decline in antioxidants, and elevated lipid peroxidation indices in liver. Crocin treatment significantly reduced elevated markers of liver tissue injury and malondialdehyde , and brought back the liver antioxidants and the over accumulation lipids in serum towards normal. Histopathology of the liver confirmed the changes induced by high fat diet and the heptoprotective effect of Crocin.
Conclusions: Crocin exerts protective effects against hepatic steatosis in rats fed with high fat diet possibly through its antioxidant actions.