Protective effects of Astaxanthin on exercise-induced oxidative damage in rats


Gao-xiang Fan 
Department of Military Sports, Zhejiang Financial College,
Hangzhou 310018, China


This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of Astaxanthin (ATX) on oxidative damage induced by exhaustive running exercise in rats. Male Wistar rats were divided into four groups, i.e. a control group and three ATX treatment groups. Treatment groups were orally administered various doses of ATX (5, 10 and 20 mg/kg), whilst the control group received only the vehicle (olive oil) for 35 days, followed by being forced to undergo exhaustive running exercise, and various related biochemical parameters were measured. The data obtained showed that ATX significantly prolonged the running time to exhaustion (by 28.56%, 42.03% and 59.19%) compared with control group. ATX reduced the levels of alanine aminotransferase (by 18.02% and 41.39%), aspartate aminotransferase (by 18.81% and 27.06%), lactate dehydrogenase (by 10.82%, 18.17% and 34.03%) and creatine kinase (by 20.95%, 39.02% and 55.97%) in serum and the levels of malondialdehyde (by 24.92%, 48.03% and 64.91%) and 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (by 16.70% and 22.04%) in muscle significantly to that of control. It also elevated the levels of superoxide dismutase (by 217.36%, 26.65% and 38.09%), glutathione peroxidase (by 15.69%, 33.54% and 51.21%) and catalase (by 48.08% and 76.78%) in muscle significantly to that of control. The results indicate that ATX might have protective effects on exercise-induced oxidative damage


Astaxanthin (ATX, 3,3′-dihydroxy-β, β′-carotene-4,4′-dione) is a ketocarotenoid of the Xanthophyll family (1, 2). It is naturally synthesized by photosynthetic organisms, bacteria or fungi and is abundantly present in red marine animals (salmon, trout, red sea bream and lobster) that give them their distinctive colorful appearance, and the depth of their color depends on the concentration of ATX in them (3, 4). Distinct from other members of the xanthophylls, the molecular structure of ATX is similar to that of β-carotene, which has two hydroxyl groups. ATX spans the bi-lipid layer and is long enough that the two hydroxyl groups jut into the fluid phase near the membrane, and that when electrons are extracted from these hydroxyl groups by free radicals, the molecule is resonance stabilized (5). As a consequence, these properties allow ATX has high antioxidant activity. Several studies have indicated that antioxidant activity of ATX is approximately 10 times higher than other carotenoids, and about 100-500 times than that of a-tocopherol (6). In addition to its antioxidant activity, ATX has many pharmacological properties, including ant ...