Preventive treatment of astaxanthin provides neuroprotection through suppression of reactive oxygen species and activation of antioxidant defense pathway after stroke in rats.
Brain Res Bull. 2017 Feb 1. Epub 2017 Feb 1. PMID: 28161193
Astaxanthin, a natural antioxidant carotenoid, has been shown to reduce cerebral ischemic injury in rodents. However, there have not been any studies specifically addressing whether preventive administration of astaxanthin can protect against cerebral ischemia. The purpose of this study was to examine whether pretreatment of astaxanthin can protect against ischemic injuries in the adult rats. The rats were pre-administered intragastrically with astaxanthin for seven days (once a day), and middle cerebral artery occlusion was performed at 1hour after the final administration. It was found that astaxanthin prevented neurological deficits and reduced cerebral infarction volume. To evaluate the mechanisms underlying this protection, brain tissues were assayed for free radical damage, antioxidant gene expression, cell apoptosis and regeneration. The results showed that the mechanisms involved suppression of reactive oxygen species, activation of antioxidant defense pathway, and inhibition of apoptosis as well as promotion of neural regeneration. Astaxanthin did not alter body weights and the protective effect was found to be dose-dependent. Collectively, our data suggest that pretreatment of astaxanthin can protect against ischemia-related damages in brain tissue through multiple mechanisms, hinting that astaxanthin may have significant protective effects for patients vulnerable or prone to ischemic events.