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Frequency-dependent Electrophysiological Remodeling of the AV Node by Hydroalcohol Extract of Crocus sativus L. (Saffron) During Experimental Atrial Fibrillation: The Role of Endogenous Nitric Oxide


Dr Mohsen Nayebpour, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, P.O. Box 49175–553.



The study assessed the hydroalcohol extract effects of Crocus sativus L. (saffron) on (i) the basic and rate-dependent electrophysiological properties of the AV node, (ii) remodeling of the AV node during experimental atrial fibrillation (AF) and (iii) the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the effects of saffron on the AV node. Stimulation protocols in isolated AV node were used to quantify AV nodal recovery, facilitation and fatigue in four groups of rabbits (n = 8–16 per group). In addition, the nodal response to AF was evaluated at multiple cycle lengths and during AF. Saffron had a depressant effect on AV nodal rate-dependent properties; further, it increased Wenckebach block cycle length, functional refractory period, facilitation and fatigue (p < 0.05). A NO-synthase inhibitor (L-NAME) prevented the depressant effects of saffron on the AV node (p < 0.05). Saffron increased the zone of concealment in experimental AF (p < 0.05). The present research showed, for the first time, established electrophysiological remodeling of the AV node during AF by saffron. Saffron increased the AV nodal refractoriness and zone of concealment. These depressant effects of saffron were mediated by endogenous NO. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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