Astaxanthin attenuates early acute kidney injury following severe burns in rats by ameliorating oxidative stress and mitochondrial-related apoptosis

Mar Drugs. 2015 Apr 13;13(4):2105-23. doi: 10.3390/md13042105.


Early acute kidney injury (AKI) is a devastating complication in critical burn patients, and it is associated with severe morbidity and mortality. The mechanism of AKI is multifactorial. Astaxanthin (ATX) is a natural compound that is widely distributed in marine organisms; it is a strong antioxidant and exhibits other biological effects that have been well studied in various traumatic injuries and diseases. Hence, we attempted to explore the potential protection of ATX against early post burn AKI and its possible mechanisms of action. The classic severe burn rat model was utilized for the histological and biochemical assessments of the therapeutic value and mechanisms of action of ATX. Upon ATX treatment, renal tubular injury and the levels of serum creatinine and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin were improved. Furthermore, relief of oxidative stress and tubular apoptosis in rat kidneys post burn was also observed. Additionally, ATX administration increased Akt and Bad phosphorylation and further down-regulated the expression of other downstream pro-apoptotic proteins (cytochrome c and caspase-3/9); these effects were reversed by the PI3K inhibitor LY294002. Moreover, the protective effect of ATX presents a dose-dependent enhancement. The data above suggested that ATX protects against early AKI following severe burns in rats, which was attributed to its ability to ameliorate oxidative stress and inhibit apoptosis by modulating the mitochondrial-apoptotic pathway, regarded as the Akt/Bad/Caspases signalling cascade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / prevention & control*
  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / genetics
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Burns / drug therapy*
  • Burns / metabolism
  • Burns / pathology
  • Burns / physiopathology
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins / blood
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase / metabolism
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / drug effects
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / blood
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Antioxidants
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Biomarkers
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Lcn2 protein, rat
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine
  • Creatinine
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase