Effects of short-term saffron (Crocus sativus L.) intake on the in vivo activities of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes in healthy volunteers.


Laboratory of Pharmacology, University of Thessaly, 41500, Biopolis, Larissa, Greece. Electronic address: [Email]


Crocus sativus L., a perennial plant grown mainly around the Mediterranean and Iran, has many medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-depressive and cancer preventing properties. Aqueous herbal extracts may affect the activity of Phase I and II enzymes involved in xenobiotic metabolism. The present study was designed to determine whether C. sativus infusion alters the activity of CYP1A2, CYP2A6, XO and NAT2 enzymes in humans. Thirty-four healthy volunteers consumed infusion prepared from C. sativus stigmata for six days. Enzyme phenotyping was assessed in saliva and urine using caffeine metabolite ratios as follows: CYP1A2: 17X/137Χ (saliva) and CYP1A2: (AFMU+1U+1X)/17U, CYP2A6: 17U/(17U + 17X), XO: 1U/(1U+1X) and NAT2: AFMU/(AFMU+1U+1X) (urine). Following C. sativus intake, CYP1A2 index was reduced by ∼13.7% in saliva (before: 0.51 ± 0.22, after: 0.44 ± 0.14; p = 0.002) and ∼6.0% in urine (before: 3.81 ± 1.20, after: 3.58 ± 0.92; p = 0.054). CYP1A2 index was significantly reduced only in males (saliva, before: 0.65 ± 0.22, after: 0.51 ± 0.16; p = 0.0001; urine, before: 4.53 ± 1.19, after: 4.03 ± 0.87; p = 0.017) suggesting sexual dimorphism in CYP1A2 inhibition. There was no effect of C. sativus intake on CYP2A6, XO or NAT2 indices. Short-term consumption of C. sativus infusion is unlikely to result in significant herb-drug interactions involving the enzymes studied, with the exception of potential herb-CYP1A2 substrate interaction in males.


CYP1A2,CYP2A6,NAT2,Saffron,Xanthine oxidase,