The present study aimed to investigate the effects of daily (45 days) intake of fish oil (FO; 10mg EPA/kg body weight (BW) and 7 mg DHA/kg BW) and/or natural ASTA (1mg ASTA/kg BW) on oxidative stress and functional indexes of neutrophils isolated from Wistar rats by monitoring superoxide (O(2)(-)), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), and nitric oxide (NO()) production compared to the progression of auto-induced lipid peroxidation and Ca(2+) release in activated neutrophils. Furthermore, phagocytic capacity, antioxidant enzyme activities, glutathione-recycling system, and biomarkers of lipid and protein oxidation in neutrophils were compared to the redox status. Our results show evidence of the beneficial effects of FO+ASTA supplementation for immune competence based on the redox balance in plasma (significant increase in GSH-dependent reducing power), non-activated neutrophils (increased activity of the glutathione-recycling enzymes GPx and GR) and PMA-activated neutrophils (lower O(2)(-), H(2)O(2), and NO() generation, reduced membrane oxidation, but higher phagocytic activity). Combined application of ASTA and FO promoted hypolipidemic/hypocholesterolemic effects in plasma and resulted in increased phagocytic activity of activated neutrophils when compared with ASTA or FO applied alone. In PMA-activated neutrophils, ASTA was superior to FO in exerting antioxidant effects. The bulk of data reinforces the hypothesis that habitual consumption of marine fish (e.g. salmon, which is a natural source of both astaxanthin and fish oil) is beneficial to human health, in particular by improving immune response and lowering the risk of vascular and infectious diseases.
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