Document Type : Research articles


1 Nutrition Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

2 Naja Research Center, Tehran, Iran

3 Research Center for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

4 Cardiovascular Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

5 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Road Traffic Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

6 INSERM U1148, Laboratory for Vascular Translational Science, Paris 13 University, Paris, France


Background: microRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous gene expression regulators, which are involved in the physiopathology of dis- eases, and potentially make biomarkers in diseases, such as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).
Objectives: Since miR-21 is a robust regulator in plaque formation, this study aimed at identifying the effect of saffron as a functional food and traditional food additive antioxidant in fighting against the progress of atherosclerosis, by modulation of miR-21, as a new circulating marker of inflammation. Methods: In this randomized, double-blind clinical trial, 63 subjects with atherosclerosis were recruited from Emam Sajjad Hospi- tal, Valiasr Hospital, and Zafaranieyh Clinic in Tehran, Iran, and divided randomly to two groups. They received 100 mg/d saffron or
a placebo capsule for six weeks. The expression levels of miR-21 were quantified by real-time quantitative-PCR (RT-qPCR) in the blood of patients. Furthermore, fasting blood sugar, lipid profile, and anthropometric index of participants were evaluated before and after the intervention. Results: Statistical analysis showed significant differences in the expression level of miR-21 between atherosclerosis patients, who received placebo, and those, who consumed saffron                      (P value = 0.02). Moreover, a significant decrease was seen in hip circumference after saffron supplementation (P = 0.049, P = 0.006). Nevertheless, consumption of saffron did not significantly influence other anthropometric indexes and blood biochemical parameters, such as FBS and lipid profile. Conclusions: In the