Astaxanthin modulates age-associated mitochondrial dysfunction in healthy dogs

J Anim Sci. 2013 Jan;91(1):268-75. doi: 10.2527/jas.2012-5341. Epub 2012 Oct 16.


Young (2.97±0.01 yr; 8.16±0.15 kg BW) and geriatric (10.71±0.01 yr; 9.46±0.18 kg BW) healthy female Beagle dogs (n=14/age group) were fed 0 or 20 mg astaxanthin daily for 16 wk to examine modulation of mitochondrial function. Fasted blood was sampled on wk 0, 8, and 16. Mitochondria membrane permeability, ATP production, cytochrome c oxidase/reductase, and number were assessed in leukocytes whereas astaxanthin uptake, glutathione, superoxide dismutase, nitric oxide, 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine, 8-isoprostane, and protein carbonyl were measured in plasma. Aging increased (P<0.05) complex III cytochrome c oxidoreductase but decreased (P<0.05) 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine and protein carbonyl. Mitochondrial function improved in both young and geriatric dogs by increasing (P<0.05) ATP production, mitochondria mass, and cytochrome c oxidoreductase activity, especially in geriatric dogs compared with young dogs. Astaxanthin feeding also increased (P<0.05) the reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione ratio in young dogs and decreased (P<0.05) nitric oxide in both young and geriatric dogs. Dietary astaxanthin improved mitochondrial function in blood leukocytes, most likely by alleviating oxidative damage to cellular DNA and protein.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Leukocytes
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / drug therapy
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / veterinary*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Permeability
  • Xanthophylls / blood
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use


  • Biomarkers
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine