Effect of Crocin, Exercise, and Crocin-accompanied Exercise on Learning and Memory in Rats under Chronic Unpredictable Stress

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Stress affects brain functions and induces psychological disorders. Previous studies have indicated different effects of crocin and exercise on the improvement of memory in some types of stress. The present study investigated the effect of crocin, exercise, and crocin-accompanied exercise on learning, memory, and memory consolidation in rats under chronic unpredictable stress (CUS). Materials and Methods: Male rats were randomly allocated to different groups: control, sham, stress, stress-exercise, stress-crocin, and stress-crocin-accompanied exercise groups. The CUS and treadmill running were applied 2 h/day and 1 h/day, respectively, for 21 days. Crocin (30 mg/kg) was daily intraperitoneally injected to the rats and their behavioral variables were evaluated as a brain function using the passive avoidance test. Results: Results showed that the CUS significantly decreased learning and memory compared to the control group, while crocin alone and crocin-accompanied exercise significantly improved learning and memory compared to the stressed group. It was found that exercise alone caused learning but did not improve memory in unpredictable stress rats. Conclusion: The data indicated that unpredictable stress had very destructive effects on the brain functions. Furthermore, unlike exercise, crocin improved memory under unpredictable stress conditions. Overall, it seems that the beneficial effects of crocin-accompanied exercise on learning and memory were probably because of crocin, but not exercise.


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