Objective: To investigate the protection effect of haematococcus pluvialis (containing astaxanthin) against the impairment of anti-oxidative system and DNA damage in mice induced by 60Co gamma-rays.
Methods: Fifty mice were randomly divided into five groups, i.e. three haematococcus pluvialis groups (41.7, 83.3 and 166.7 mg/kg in vegetable oil, respectively), control group and model group (vegetable oil only). All mice except control group were irradiated by 8 Gy 60Co gamma-rays 30 days later, and executed in the 4th day after irradiation. Liver cells were collected for the analysis of the integrity of DNA by comet assay, as well as MDA contents, SOD and GSH-Px activities in liver by commercial kits. Peripheral granulocyte and bone marrow nucleated cells were counted by hematocyte counter.
Results: MDA contents of model group were higher than those of control group (P < 0.01), and SOD, GSH-Px activities of model group were lower than those of control group (P < 0.01). Compared with the model group, MDA contents were decreased (P < 0.01), and SOD and GSH-Px activities were increased (P < 0.01) in all haematococcus pluvialis groups, especially in the high haematococcus pluvialis group, and the more haematococcus pluvialis in the diet of mice, the lower rate of comet tail and OTM value were shown (P < 0.01). Furthermore, the counts of peripheral granulocyte and bone marrow nucleated cells of model group were lower than those of the control group, while the counts of peripheral granulocyte and bone marrow nucleated cells of medium and high haematococcus pluvialis groups were increased significantly when compared with the model group (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: Astaxanthin might have some protective effect against oxidative impairment and DNA damage induced by 60Co gamma-rays in mice.