Combined fish oil and astaxanthin supplementation modulates rat lymphocyte function

Eur J Nutr. 2012 Sep;51(6):707-18. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0250-z. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Purpose: Higher intakes of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are abundant in marine fishes have been long described as a "good nutritional intervention" with increasing clinical benefits to cardiovascular health, inflammation, mental, and neurodegenerative diseases. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of daily fish oil (FO-10 mg EPA/kg body weight (BW) and 7 mg DHA/kg BW) intake by oral gavage associated with the antioxidant astaxanthin (ASTA-1 mg/kg BW) on the redox metabolism and the functional properties of lymphocytes from rat lymph nodes.

Methods: This study was conducted by measurements of lymphocyte proliferation capacity, ROS production [superoxide (O₂(•-)) and hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂)], nitric oxide (NO(•)) generation, intracellular calcium release, oxidative damage to lipids and proteins, activities of major antioxidant enzymes, GSH/GSSG content, and cytokines release.

Results: After 45 days of FO + ASTA supplementation, the proliferation capacity of activated T- and B-lymphocytes was significantly diminished followed by lower levels of O₂(•-), H₂O₂ and NO(•) production, and increased activities of total/SOD, GR and GPx, and calcium release in cytosol. ASTA was able to prevent oxidative modification in cell structures through the suppression of the oxidative stress condition imposed by FO. L: -selectin was increased by FO, and IL-1β was decreased only by ASTA supplementation.

Conclusion: We can propose that association of ASTA with FO could be a good strategy to prevent oxidative stress induced by polyunsaturated fatty acids and also to potentiate immuno-modulatory effects of FO.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Fish Oils / chemistry
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage


  • Antioxidants
  • Cytokines
  • Fish Oils
  • Mitogens
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Xanthophylls
  • Nitric Oxide
  • astaxanthine
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Glutathione