Preparation of astaxanthin-loaded DNA/chitosan nanoparticles for improved cellular uptake and antioxidation capability

Food Chem. 2017 Jul 15;227:9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.01.081. Epub 2017 Jan 17.


DNA/chitosan co-assemblies were initially used as nanocarriers for efficient astaxanthin encapsulation and delivery. The obtained astaxanthin-loaded DNA/chitosan (ADC) colloidal system was transparent and homogenous, with astaxanthin content up to 65μg/ml. Compared to free astaxanthin, ADC nanoparticles with an astaxanthin concentration as low as 3.35nM still showed a more powerful cytoprotective effect on H2O2-induced oxidative cell damage, and improved cell viability from 49.9% to 61.9%. The ROS scavenging efficiency of ADC nanoparticles was as high as 54.3%, which was 2-fold higher than that of free astaxanthin. Besides this, ADC nanoparticles were easily engulfed by Caco-2 cells in a short time, indicating that the encapsulated astaxanthin could be absorbed through endocytosis by intestinal epithelial cells. The improved antioxidation capability and facilitated cellular uptake enabled the ADC nanoparticles to be good candidates for efficient delivery and absorption of astaxanthin.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Astaxanthin; Cellular uptake; Chitosan; DNA; Nanodispersion; Nanoparticle.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Chitosan / chemistry*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Particle Size
  • Xanthophylls / chemistry
  • Xanthophylls / metabolism
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Drug Carriers
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine
  • DNA
  • Chitosan