Neuroinflammation and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress are Co-regulated by Crocin to Prevent Demyelination and Neurodegeneration

Researchers from the University of Alberta have found that crocin, an active ingredient in the spice saffron, has a neuroprotective effect and may offer a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis. [André M. Deslauriers, Amir Afkhami-Goli, Amber M. Paul, Rakesh K. Bhat, Shaona Acharjee, Kristofor K. Ellestad, Farshid Noorbakhsh, Marek Michalak and Christopher Power. J Immunol. 2011 Nov 1;187(9):4788-99. Epub 2011 Sep 30.]

Supported by the MS Society of Canada and the Canada Research Chair program, Dr. Chris Power and a research team from the University of Alberta found that a natural chemical compound found in the spice saffron known as crocin, provides a protective effect in the brain by preventing damage to myelin-producing cells.

Dr. Power and his team discovered that inflammation and a specific type of cell stress, called endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, are closely linked and lead to neurodegeneration and inflammation. Daily treatment with crocin in an EAE model was found to suppress ER stress and inflammation.  The team also observed preservation of myelin and axonal density, along with decreased immune cell activation following treatment with crocin.

The MS Society of Canada will follow the progress of this study area and provide updates when they become available.