Background/Aims: A growing body of evidence supports an important role of inflammatory
cytokines in the development and progression of the Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), which
explains, at least in part, its relationship with an increased cardiovascular-risk. Several studies have
reported the therapeutic-impact of crocus-sativus in a preclinical/clinical setting. Here we have
explored the effects of crocus-sativus, on the serum concentrations of twelve serum cytokines in
subjects with MetS in a randomized control trial.
Methods: Forty four adult volunteers, who met the diagnostic-criteria of MetS, were enrolled and
randomly divided into 2 groups, to receive 100 mg/day crocus-sativus for 12 weeks. 12 cytokines,
including IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α, MCP-1, IFN-γ, EGF, and VEGF were
measured using sandwich chemi-luminescence assays before/after therapy.
Results: Individuals with MetS who received crocus-sativus had significantly (P<0.05) lower levels
of total-cholesterol, low density-lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglyceride (TG), fasting-blood-sugar
and hsCRP, however the serum concentration of high density-lipoprotein-cholesterol markedly
enhanced after therapy (e.g., TG level reduced from 148.86±71.49 to 101.90±38.19 after therapy,
P= 0.003). Moreover, we observed that treatment with Crocus-sativus affected the serumconcentrations
of some pro-/anti-inflamatory cytokines. In particular, the level of VEGF was increased
from 12.64 pg/mL (95% CI: 9.60-17.67) to 16.59 (95% CI: 11.33-35.98, P= 0.033. Similar
results were detected for IL-6 and EGF.
Conclusion: Our findings provide a novel insight into the therapeutic effects of this therapy in
MetS patients via perturbation of serum cytokines and reducing the levels of triglyceride and
LDL/TC, but further studies are required in larger populations.