Pretreatment with crocin along with treadmill exercise ameliorates motor and memory deficits in hemiparkinsonian rats by anti-inflammatory and antioxidant mechanisms

  • Somayeh Shahidani
  • Ziba RajaeiEmail author
  • Hojjatallah Alaei
Original Article


The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are preceded by non-motorized symptoms including memory deficits. Treatment with dopamine replacement medications, such as L-DOPA only control motor symptoms and does not meet the clinical challenges of the disease, such as dyskinesia, non-motor symptoms, and neuroprotection. The purpose of the current study was to examine the neuroprotective potential of crocin and physical exercise in an animal model of PD. Male Wistar rats ran on a horizontal treadmill and/or pretreated with crocin at a dose of 100 mg/kg. Then, 16 μg of the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) was microinjected into left medial forebrain bundle. Crocin treatment and/or exercise continued for 6 more weeks. Spatial and aversive memories, rotational behaviour, inflammatory and oxidative stress parameters were assessed at the end of week 6 post surgery. The results showed that pretreatment with crocin alone and in combination with exercise decreased the total number of rotaions as compared with 6-OHDA-lesioned group. Furthermore, treatment of parkinsonian rats with crocin along with exercise training improved aversive and spatial memories. Biochemical analysis showed that crocin and exercise (alone and in combination) reduced tumor necrosis factor- (TNF) α levels in the striatum. Moreover, treatment with crocin at a dose of 100 mg/kg decreased the lipid peroxidation levels in the hippocampus, while exercise training increased the total thiol concentration. In conclusion, our findings indicated that pretreatment with crocin along with treadmill exercise ameliorated motor and memory deficits induced by 6-OHDA, which is considered to be due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The results suggest that combined therapy with crocin and exercise may be protective for motor and memory deficits in PD patients.


Crocin Memory Motor activity Treadmill exercise Cytokine 6-OHDA Inflammatory biomarkers Oxidative stress Parkinson’s disease 



The results presented in this work have been taken from a student’s thesis. This study was supported by a grant from the Council of Research, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran

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