Effects of the active constituents of Crocus Sativus L., crocins, in an animal model of obsessive-compulsive disorder

Neurosci Lett. 2012 Oct 18;528(1):27-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.08.081. Epub 2012 Sep 7.


Crocins are among the active components of the plant Crocus Sativus L. C. Sativus L. and its constituents were effective in different models of psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common psychiatric disorder defined by the presence of obsessive thoughts and repetitive compulsive actions. The non selective serotonin (5-HT) receptor agonist mCPP is known to induce OCD-like behavior (excessive self-grooming) in rodents and exacerbate symptoms in patients with OCD. The present study investigated whether or not crocins were able to counteract excessive self-grooming induced by mCPP (0.6 mg/kg, i.p.) in rats. Crocins (30 and 50mg/kg, i.p.) attenuated mCPP-induced excessive self-grooming. The present results also indicate that these effects of crocins on an animal model of OCD cannot be attributed to changes in locomotor activity. Our findings suggest that the active constituents of C. Sativus L. crocins might play a role in compulsive behavior and support a functional interaction between crocins and the serotonergic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Crocus / chemistry*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Male
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder* / drug therapy
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Plant Extracts
  • Carotenoids
  • crocin