Publication: Is saffron able to prevent the dysregulation of retinal cytokines induced by ocular hypertension in mice?
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Cytokine- and chemokine-mediated signalling is involved in the neuroinflammatory process that leads to retinal ganglion cell (RGC) damage in glaucoma. Substances with anti-inflammatory properties could decrease these cytokines and chemokines and thus prevent RGC death. The authors of this study analysed the anti-inflammatory effect of a hydrophilic saffron extract standardized to 3% crocin content, focusing on the regulation of cytokine and chemokine production, in a mouse model of unilateral laser-induced ocular hypertension (OHT). We demonstrated that following saffron treatment, most of the concentration of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-17), anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10), Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), and fractalkine were unaffected in response to laser-induced OHT in both the OHT eye and its contralateral eye. Only IL-6 levels were significantly increased in the OHT eye one day after laser induction compared with the control group. These results differed from those observed in animals subjected to unilateral OHT and not treated with saffron, where changes in cytokine levels occurred in both eyes. Therefore, saffron extract regulates the production of proinflammatory cytokines, VEGF, and fractalkine induced by increasing intraocular pressure (IOP), protecting the retina from inflammation. These results indicate that saffron could be beneficial in glaucoma by helping to reduce the inflammatory process