Study Title:

Astaxanthin Protects Mitochondrial Function of Nerves

Study Abstract

Astaxanthin (AST) is a powerful antioxidant that occurs naturally in a wide variety of living organisms. We have investigated the role of AST in preventing 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced apoptosis of the substantia nigra (SN) neurons in the mouse model of Parkinson's disease (PD) and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+)-induced cytotoxicity of SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. In in vitro study, AST inhibits MPP+-induced production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. Preincubation of AST (50 μM) significantly attenuates MPP+-induced oxidative damage. Furthermore, AST is able to enhance the expression of Bcl-2 protein but reduce the expression of α-synuclein and Bax, and suppress the cleavage of caspase-3. Our results suggest that the protective effects of AST on MPP+-induced apoptosis may be due to its anti-oxidative properties and anti-apoptotic activity via induction of expression of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase and regulating the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax. Pretreatment with AST (30 mg/kg) markedly increases tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons and decreases the argyrophilic neurons compared with the MPTP model group. In summary, AST shows protection from MPP+/MPTP-induced apoptosis in the SH-SY5Y cells and PD model mouse SN neurons, and this effect may be attributable to upregulation of the expression of Bcl-2 protein, downregulation of the expression of Bax and α-synuclein, and inhibition of the activation of caspase-3. These data indicate that AST may provide a valuable therapeutic strategy for the treatment of progressive neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson's disease.

Study Information

Lee DH, Kim CS, Lee YJ.
Astaxanthin protects against MPTP/MPP+-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS production in vivo and in vitro.
Food Chem Toxicol.
2011 January
Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

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