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Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 28;6:25139. doi: 10.1038/srep25139.

Saffron with resistance exercise improves diabetic parameters through the GLUT4/AMPK pathway in-vitro and in-vivo.

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Department of Exercise Science, Sports Centre, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Marvdasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Marvdasht, Iran.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Department of Exercise Physiology, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Saffron is consumed as food and medicine to treat several illnesses. This study elucidates the saffron effectiveness on diabetic parameters in-vitro and combined with resistance exercise in-vivo. The antioxidant properties of saffron was examined. Insulin secretion and glucose uptake were examined by cultured RIN-5F and L6 myotubes cells. The expressions of GLUT2, GLUT4, and AMPKα were determined by Western blot. Diabetic and non-diabetic male rats were divided into: control, training, extract treatment, training + extract treatment and metformin. The exercise and 40 mg/kg/day saffron treatments were carried out for six weeks. The antioxidant capacity of saffron was higher compare to positive control (P < 0.01). High dose of saffron stimulated insulin release in RIN-5F cells and improved glucose uptake in L6 myotubes. GLUT4 and AMPKα expressions increased in both doses of saffron (P < 0.01), whereas GLUT2 not changed (p > 0.05). Serum glucose, cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein, very low-density lipoprotein, insulin resistance, and glycated hemoglobin levels decreased in treated rats compared to untreated (p < 0.01). However, no significant differences were observed in the high-density lipoprotein, insulin, adiponectin, and leptin concentration levels in all groups (p > 0.05). The findings suggest that saffron consuming alongside exercise could improve diabetic parameters through redox-mediated mechanisms and GLUT4/AMPK pathway to entrap glucose uptake.

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