IJMS, Vol. 23, Pages 11600: Saffron Extract Attenuates Anxiogenic Effect and Improves Cognitive Behavior in an Adult Zebrafish Model of Traumatic Brain Injury (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has the highest mortality rates worldwide, yet effective treatment remains unavailable. TBI causes inflammatory responses, endoplasmic reticulum stress, disruption of the blood–brain barrier and neurodegeneration that lead to loss of cognition, memory and motor skills. Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is known for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, which makes it a potential candidate for TBI treatment. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) shares a high degree of genetic homology and cell signaling pathways with mammals. Its active neuro-regenerative function makes it an excellent model organism for TBI therapeutic drug identification. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of saffron administration to a TBI zebrafish model by investigating behavioral outcomes such as anxiety, fear and memory skills using a series of behavioral tests. Saffron exhibited anxiolytic effect on anxiety-like behaviors, and showed prevention of fear inhibition observed after TBI. It improved learning and enhanced memory performance. These results suggest that saffron could be a novel therapeutic enhancer for neural repair and regeneration of networks post-TBI.