Astaxanthin ameliorates aluminum chloride-induced spatial memory impairment and neuronal oxidative stress in mice

Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Apr 15:777:60-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.02.062. Epub 2016 Feb 27.


Aluminum chloride induces neurodegenerative disease in animal model. Evidence suggests that aluminum intake results in the activation of glial cells and generation of reactive oxygen species. By contrast, astaxanthin is an antioxidant having potential neuroprotective activity. In this study, we investigate the effect of astaxanthin on aluminum chloride-exposed behavioral brain function and neuronal oxidative stress (OS). Male Swiss albino mice (4 months old) were divided into 4 groups: (i) control (distilled water), (ii) aluminum chloride, (iii) astaxanthin+aluminum chloride, and (iv) astaxanthin. Two behavioral tests; radial arm maze and open field test were conducted, and OS markers were assayed from the brain and liver tissues following 42 days of treatment. Aluminum exposed group showed a significant reduction in spatial memory performance and anxiety-like behavior. Moreover, aluminum group exhibited a marked deterioration of oxidative markers; lipid peroxidation (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), glutathione (GSH) and advanced oxidation of protein products (AOPP) in the brain. To the contrary, co-administration of astaxanthin and aluminum has shown improved spatial memory, locomotor activity, and OS. These results indicate that astaxanthin improves aluminum-induced impaired memory performances presumably by the reduction of OS in the distinct brain regions. We suggest a future study to determine the underlying mechanism of astaxanthin in improving aluminum-exposed behavioral deficits.

Keywords: Behavior; Glutathione; Memory; Nitric oxide; Superoxide dismutase.

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Oxidation Protein Products / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Spatial Memory / drug effects*
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology


  • Advanced Oxidation Protein Products
  • Antioxidants
  • Xanthophylls
  • Nitric Oxide
  • astaxanthine
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione