Background and purpose: Multiple lines of evidence demonstrated that Crocus sativus petals (saffron) have beneficial effects on some diseases such as diabetes. This study was carried out to elucidate the effects of ethanolic extract of SP on renal function in diabetic rats.
Materials and methods: In this experimental study, streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic male Wistar rats (180-200 g) were orally treated with normal saline or 100 or 200 mg/kg of SP extract once a day for 28 days. Finally, fasting blood sugar (FBS), urine volume, 24 h urine total protein (UTP), blood nitrogen urea (BUN), and plasma creatinine (Cr) were assessed biochemically, and qualitative renal histomorphological alterations were evaluated pathologically. Data was analyzed using ANOVA and Kruskal-Wallis tests in SPSS, version 22.
Results: The FBS, urine volume, UTP, BUN, and Cr levels significantly increased in diabetic rats compared to those of the normal control group (P<0.05). SP treatment significantly lowered the FBS level at 200 mg/kg (P=0.011) and decreased urine volume and BUN at both doses (100 and 200 mg/kg) in diabetic rats. However, neither of the doses could modify UTP and Cr. There were several histological alterations such as thickening of the basement membrane of the Bowman’s capsule, sclerosis, mesangial matrix expansion, and hyaline deposit in glomeruli of the diabetic rats. These alterations were found to be ameliorated when SP extract was administrated.
Conclusion: SP may have beneficial effects against diabetic nephropathy through reducing extracellular matrix accumulation and its antioxidant properties.