Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 9799–9808 | Cite as

Crocin protects the liver and kidney from patulin-induced apoptosis in vivo

  • Manel Boussabbeh
  • Intidhar Ben Salem
  • Faicel Belguesmi
  • Fadwa Neffati
  • Mohamed Fadhel Najjar
  • Salwa Abid-Essefi
  • Hassen Bacha
Research Article


Patulin (PAT) is a mycotoxin mainly produced by Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Bissochlamys. Given the high risk associated with this mycotoxin, its potential effects have been investigated by many studies. It is known to be teratogenic, mutagenic, and genotoxic, and it has been shown to induce damages in several organs in experimental animals. Our aim was to investigate the preventive effect against PAT-induced apoptosis in vivo using natural carotenoid, Crocin (CRO). Mice were divided into six groups: a control group, a “PAT alone” group, a “CRO alone” group, and a “PAT plus CRO” groups (pre-treatment conditions). Our results showed that CRO restored the normal levels of biochemical parameters in the liver and kidney. The analysis of the protein expression in these organs revealed that PAT-induced toxicity promotes the induction of apoptosis via the increase in P53, Bax, and cytochrome C and the decrease in Bcl2 expressions. We also found that PAT triggered caspase 3 activation and DNA fragmentation. However, pre-treatment with CRO demonstrated a reduction in the induction of apoptosis via the regulation of all tested biomarkers demonstrating that CRO is effective in the protection against PAT hazards. This could be relevant, particularly with the emergent demand for natural products which may counteract the detrimental toxic effects and therefore prevents multiple human diseases.


Patulin Crocin P53 Caspase 3 Apoptosis DNA fragmentation 







Aspartate aminotransferase


Alanine aminotransferase


Gamma glutamyl transferase


Total bilirubin








Total cholesterol


Lactate dehydrogenase


Alkaline phosphatase



This research was supported by the Ministère Tunisien de l’Enseignement Superieur et de la Recherche Scientifique et de la Technologie (Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Substances Biologiquement Compatibles, LRSBC). The authors are thankful to Mr. Hassen Bacha and Mr. Mohamed Fadhel Najjar for their laboratory supports and for their constructive suggestions during the course of study.

Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures were carried out in accordance with the National Institute of Health Guidelines for Animal Care and approved by the local ethics committee.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manel Boussabbeh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Intidhar Ben Salem
    • 1
    • 2
  • Faicel Belguesmi
    • 1
  • Fadwa Neffati
    • 3
  • Mohamed Fadhel Najjar
    • 3
  • Salwa Abid-Essefi
    • 1
  • Hassen Bacha
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Research on Biologically Compatible Compounds, Faculty of Dental MedicineMonastir UniversityMonastirTunisia
  2. 2.Faculty of Sciences of BizerteCarthage UniversityTunisTunisia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Biochemistry-ToxicologyMonastir University HospitalMonasterTunisia

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