Protective Effects of Safranal Against Selenite-Induced Cataract in Rats

  • Farah A. Mahdi
  • Munaf H. Zalzala College of pharmacy/ University of Baghdad
Keywords: Cataractogenesis, Safranal, Sodium selenite, Oxidative damage


         Cataract, which is the opacity inside clear ocular lens of eye, result in the scattering of visible light as it passes via the lens and consequently deterioration in optical image. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether safranal, an active constituent of Crocus sativus L. stigmas, has a protective effect on the cataract in the rat's pups. The animals were randomly divided into five groups, each of which consisted of 7 rat pups. Group I served as normal control (vehicle administration). For testing cataract induction, animals of Groups II, III, and IV were administered a single subcutaneous injection of sodium selenite on postpartum day 12. After sodium selenite intoxication, Group II served as control selenite, Groups III-IV received intraperitoneal safranal at doses of 200, and 300 mg/kg, respectively from the 11th day through the 17th day, while group V receive only safranal (300 mg/kg). On postpartum day 30, the rat pups were examined for cataract formation, and the lenses were isolated for further analysis. This study found that selenite caused significant (p < 0.05) cataract formation. Through the effects of selenite on the level of lipid peroxidation (MDA) which was upregulated. Furthermore, the antioxidant enzymes levels GSH levels and NRF2 protein were downregulated. In contrast, treatment with safranal could significantly (p < 0.05) ameliorate cataract formation and oxidative damage in the lens. Moreover, safranl administration significantly increased the protein expressions of Nrf2 and the GSH level, in addition to reducing the level both the MDA and the level soluble proteins in the lens. Taken together, safranal is a prospective anti-cataract agent that probably delays the onset and progression of cataracts induced by sodium selenite.