Effect of saffron on cell colony formation and cellular nucleic acid and protein synthesis

Biofactors. 1992 Jan;3(3):201-4.


A concentrated extract of saffron was prepared from the flowers of Crocus sativis. The effect of this extract on the ability of HeLa cells to form colonies, and on cellular DNA, RNA and protein synthesis was examined. Incubation of cells with extract for 3 h resulted in significant inhibition of colony formation and cellular nucleic acid synthesis with 50% inhibition at concentrations of approximately 100-150 micrograms/ml. In contrast there was no inhibition of cellular protein synthesis at concentrations of extract as high as 400 micrograms/ml.

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Condiments*
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • DNA / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteins / drug effects*
  • RNA / biosynthesis
  • RNA / drug effects*


  • Proteins
  • Carotenoids
  • RNA
  • crocin
  • DNA