Anxiety and depression have high prevalence in the general population, affecting millions of people worldwide, but there is still a need for effective and safe treatments. Nutritional supplements have recently received a lot of attention, particularly saffron. Thus, several pre-clinical studies support a beneficial role for bioactive compounds, such as saffron, in anxiety and depression. Here we used an animal model of depression based on social isolation to assess the effects of affron®
, a standardized saffron extract containing ≥3.5% of total bioactive compounds safranal and crocin isomers. Affron®
was administered both through the oral and the intraperitoneal routes, and several tasks related to anxiety and depression, such as the elevated plus maze, the forced swimming test or the sucrose preference test, were assessed. These tasks model key features of depressive states and anxious states relating to fear, behavioral despair or anhedonia, the lack of motivation and/or pleasure from everyday activities, respectively. Animals receiving oral affron®
displayed behaviors congruent with improvements in their anxious/depressive state, showing the enhanced consumption of a sweet solution, as well as an increase in certain escape responses in the forced swimming test. Our data support a beneficial role for oral saffron in anxious/depressive states.
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