In Vivo Effects of Free Form Astaxanthin Powder on Anti-Oxidation and Lipid Metabolism with High-Cholesterol Diet

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 11;10(8):e0134733. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134733. eCollection 2015.


Astaxanthin extracted from Pomacea canaliculata eggs was made into free-form astaxanthin powder (FFAP) and its effects on lipid metabolism, liver function, antioxidants activities and astaxanthin absorption rate were investigated. 45 hamsters were split into 5 groups and fed with normal diet, high-cholesterol control (0.2% cholesterol), 1.6FFAP (control+1.6% FFAP), 3.2FFAP (control+3.2% FFAP) and 8.0FFAP (control+8.0% FFAP), respectively, for 6 weeks. FFAP diets significantly decreased the liver total cholesterol, triglyceride levels and increased liver fatty acids (C20:5n3; C22:6n3) compositions. It decreased plasma alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase. In terms of anti-oxidative activities, we found 8.0 FFAP diet significantly decreased plasma and liver malonaldehyde (4.96±1.96 μg TEP eq./mL and 1.56±0.38 μg TEP eq./g liver) and liver 8-isoprostane levels (41.48±13.69 μg 8-ISOP/g liver). On the other hand, it significantly increased liver catalase activity (149.10±10.76 μmol/min/g liver), Vitamin C (2082.97±142.23 μg/g liver), Vitamin E (411.32±81.67 μg/g liver) contents, and glutathione levels (2.13±0.42 mg GSH eq./g liver). Furthermore, 80% of astaxanthin absorption rates in all FFAP diet groups suggest FFAP is an effective form in astaxanthin absorption. Finally, astaxanthin was found to re-distribute to the liver and eyes in a dose dependent manner. Taken together, our results suggested that the appropriate addition of FFAP into high cholesterol diets increases liver anti-oxidative activity and reduces the concentration of lipid peroxidase and therefore, it may be beneficial as a material in developing healthy food.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Cholesterol / administration & dosage*
  • Cricetinae
  • Diet*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects*
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Xanthophylls
  • Malondialdehyde
  • astaxanthine
  • Cholesterol

Grant support

This research was supported by Jin Chang Yang, Bioptik Technnology Inc., grant number: VSC-102-03-02010. This study was supported and funded by Bioptik Technology Inc. through Industry-University Cooperative Research framework in Taiwan. Bioptik Technology Inc. provided support in the form of salaries for author YW, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of the authors are articulated in the Author Contributions section.