Ability of natural astaxanthin from shrimp by-products to attenuate liver oxidative stress in diabetic rats

Pharmacol Rep. 2015 Apr;67(2):310-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pharep.2014.09.012. Epub 2014 Oct 7.


Background: Reactive oxygen species play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications. The present study was undertaken, in vivo, to examine the protective effect of astaxanthin extracted from the shell waste of deep-water pink shrimp (Parapenaeus longirostris) against oxidative stress of alloxanic adult male rats.

Results: Alloxan treatment revealed a significant elevation in plasma glycemia and lipid parameters such as total lipid, total cholesterol and triglycerides compared to the control group (C). In addition, liver malonaldialdehyde levels (MDA), an index of lipid peroxidation, significantly increased compared to control group. The activities of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR) and reduced glutathione (GSH) levels decreased significantly compared to control group. Moreover, diabetic rats presented a significant increase in the activities of aspartate transaminase (AST) alanine transaminase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in plasma, indicating considerable hepatocellular injury. Astaxanthin treatment restores these parameters near to control values. Histological studies on the liver tissue of alloxan and astaxanthin treated rats confirmed the protective effects of astaxanthin.

Conclusions: The results revealed that astaxanthin may be helpful in preventing diabetic complications in adult rats by reversing hepatotoxicity. It can be one of the ingredients in a number of healthy products.

Keywords: Astaxanthin; Diabetes; Liver; Oxidative stress; Rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Glucose
  • Insulin / blood
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Penaeidae / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Xanthophylls / isolation & purification
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Glucose