Crocin’s effect on phenotype switching of J774A.1 macrophages depends on their polarization state during exposure

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Cardiovascular Diseases Research Center, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran

3 Pharmaceutical Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Pharmacodynamics and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Biotechnology Research Center, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Objective(s): Macrophages exhibit versatile phenotypes, with M1 macrophages releasing inflammatory cytokines and possessing microbicidal activities, while M2 macrophages release anti-inflammatory cytokines and contribute to tissue repair. The M1/M2 imbalance plays a significant role in various pathological processes. Crocin, known for its antioxidant properties and ability to eliminate free radicals, has been investigated for its potential anti-inflammatory effects. We examined the effect of the primary activation state of macrophages on their phenotype switching when exposed to crocin.
Materials and Methods: The crocin impact on macrophage viability was evaluated by MTT. TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 secretion, as well as Nos2/Arg1 ratio, were measured in cells treated with crocin or LPS+IFN-γ (M1 inducers), in cells concurrently treated with crocin and LPS+IFN-γ or in cells pretreated with crocin before M1 induction.
Results: Crocin did not show any toxicity at the concentration of 500 µM or lower. When uncommitted macrophages were exposed to crocin (25-100 µM), it elevated certain M1 activity indicators, including Nos2/Arg1 ratio and TNF-α secretion, but not IL-6. Crocin in concurrent treatment with LPS+IFN-γ prevented the increase in M1 indicators, Nos2/Arg1 ratio, and TNF-α secretion. However, pretreatment of cells with crocin before the addition of LPS+IFN-γ did not reverse M1 induction in macrophages; instead, it further increased the Nos2/Arg1 ratio and TNF-α secretion. IL-10 was not detectable in any of the experimental groups.
Conclusion: It appears that the modulatory effects of crocin on macrophage M1/M2 phenotype switching partly depend on the presence or absence of inflammatory mediators and, accordingly, the initial state of macrophage commitment.


Main Subjects

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