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Published on:September 2019
Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, 2019; 53(4):695-702
Original Article | doi:10.5530/ijper.53.4.133

Neuroprotective and Antiapoptotic Effects of N-acetylcystein and Crocus sativus Aqueous Extract on Arsenic-induced Neurotoxicity in SH-SY5Y Human Dopaminergic Neuroblastoma Cells

Authors and affiliation (s):

Gila Pirzad Jahromi1, Hossein Khodadadi2, Mahdi Fasihi-Ramandi3, Mojdeh Esmaeili4, Alireza Shahriary2,*

1Neuroscience Research Centre, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IRAN.

2Chemical Injuries Research Center, System Biology and Poisonings Institute, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IRAN.

3Molecular Biology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IRAN.

4Physiology Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, IRAN.


Background: Parkinson’s disease is mainly specified by progressive and selective death of dopaminergic neurons. Crocus sativus L. (saffron) has been widely used to cure a diverse range of diseases in herbal medicine. Aim: The aim of the present study is to investigate the neuroprotective effects of saffron on arsenic-induced neurotoxicity, which was performed in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line as an in vitro model of Parkinson’s disease and to confirm whether the neuroprotective effects of saffron on Parkinson’s disease are mainly due to their interactions with antioxidant systems. Moreover, as the antioxidant effect of N-acetylcysteine and its effectiveness as an antioxidant agent are proven, we compared saffron with NAC to control saffron extract. Material and Methods: The induction of cell damage was done by arsenic and the survival of the cells was measured using the MTT assay. In addition, the assessment of the generation of intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and mitochondrial membrane potential was done using fluorescence spectrophotometry method. Furthermore, immunoblotting analysis was performed to precisely determine the biomarkers level for apoptosis in the cells. Results: Our study indicated that arsenic had the ability to decrease cells survival rate, enhance the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and increase the levels of intracellular ROS, c-Fos ratio and caspease-3. Pretreatment of cells with NAC (5 mM) and saffron aqueous extract (10mg/ml) significantly attenuated the mentioned effects in arsenic-treated cells. Conclusion: The outcome of the study has shown that the protective effects of NAC and saffron aqueous extract are produced by their antioxidant and antiapoptotic properties and their therapeutic potential is demonstrated in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Key words: Parkinson Disease, N-acetylcysteine, Saffron, Arsenic, SH-SY5Y cells.



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The Official Journal of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI)
(Registered under Registration of Societies Act XXI of 1860 No. 122 of 1966-1967, Lucknow)

Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (IJPER) [ISSN-0019-5464] is the official journal of Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI) and is being published since 1967.


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