Astaxanthin alleviated acute lung injury by inhibiting oxidative/nitrative stress and the inflammatory response in mice

Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Nov;95:974-982. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.09.012. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


The purpose of the present study was to assess the effect of astaxanthin (ASX) treatment on the acute lung injury (ALI) induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) in mice. Mice were randomly allocated into the following groups: (1) the saline control group, in which mice were given saline before sham operation; (2) the ASX control group, in which mice received ASX before sham operation; (3) the ALI group, in which mice were given saline before CLP operation; and (4) the ALI+ASX group, in which mice received ASX before CLP operation. ASX was dissolved in olive oil and administrated by oral gavage for 14days consecutively before the CLP or sham operation. In experiment 1, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was conducted for 72h after CLP. In experiment 2, blood, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissues were collected at 24h after the CLP or sham operation to determine the severity of lung injury. The results showed that ASX treatment could significantly decrease the CLP-induced mortality rate in mice. Meanwhile, ASX treatment significantly attenuated CLP-induced lung histopathological injury, inflammatory infiltration, total protein and albumin concentration, and total cell and neutrophil counts in the BALF. Furthermore, ASX treatment alleviated oxidative/nitrative stress, inflammation levels and pulmonary apoptosis in lung tissues. In addition, ASX treatment markedly down-regulated the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (i-NOS), nitrotyrosine (NT) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-Κb) P65 in the lung tissues compared with that in the ALI group. Astaxanthin treatment had markedly protective effect against ALI in mice, and the potential mechanism is associated with its ability to inhibit the inflammatory response, oxidative/nitrative stress, and pulmonary apoptosis, as well as down-regulate NF-κB P65 expression.

Keywords: Acute lung injury; Astaxanthin; Inflammatory response; NF-κB P65; Oxidative stress; Pulmonary apoptosis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / drug therapy*
  • Acute Lung Injury / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Cecum / pathology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Inflammation / complications*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Ligation
  • Lung / pathology
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitrosative Stress* / drug effects
  • Organ Size
  • Oxidative Stress* / drug effects
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Punctures
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor RelA / metabolism
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use


  • Cytokines
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Xanthophylls
  • Malondialdehyde
  • astaxanthine
  • Peroxidase