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      Astaxanthin in Liver Health and Disease: A Potential Therapeutic Agent

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          Abstract

          Astaxanthin is a carotenoid derived from oxygen-containing non-vitamin A sources and is mainly obtained from marine organisms. Studies have demonstrated that astaxanthin is a natural antioxidant product and it is widely used in the fields of medicine, health-care products and cosmetics. Studies have shown that astaxanthin has important preventive and therapeutic effects on liver fibrosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver, liver cancer, drug and ischemia-induced liver injury, and its mechanism is related to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and the regulation of multiple signaling pathways. In this review, we discuss the latest data on astaxanthin in the prevention and treatment of liver diseases. An understanding of the structure, source and mechanism of action of astaxanthin in the body would not only provide a theoretical basis for its clinical application but could also have important significance in screening and improving related compounds for the treatment of liver diseases.

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          Most cited references 67

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          Structure and functional analysis of a marine bacterial carotenoid biosynthesis gene cluster and astaxanthin biosynthetic pathway proposed at the gene level.

           N Misawa,  Y Satomi,  K Kondo (1995)
          A carotenoid biosynthesis gene cluster for the production of astaxanthin was isolated from the marine bacterium Agrobacterium aurantiacum. This cluster contained five carotenogenic genes with the same orientation, which were designated crtW, crtZ, crtY, crtI, and crtB. The stop codons of individual crt genes except for crtB overlapped the start codons of the following crt genes. Escherichia coli transformants carrying the Erwinia uredovora carotenoid biosynthesis genes provide suitable substrates for carotenoid biosynthesis. The functions of the five crt genes of A. aurantiacum were determined through chromatographic and spectroscopic analyses of the pigments accumulated in some E. coli transformants carrying various combinations of the E. uredovora and A. aurantiacum carotenogenic genes. As a result, the astaxanthin biosynthetic pathway is proposed for the first time at the level of the biosynthesis genes. The crtW and crtZ gene products, which mediated the oxygenation reactions from beta-carotene to astaxanthin, were found to have low substrate specificity. This allowed the production of many presumed intermediates of astaxanthin, i.e., adonixanthin, phoenicoxanthin (adonirubin), canthaxanthin, 3'-hydroxyechinenone, and 3-hydroxyechinenone.
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            Astaxanthin Pretreatment Attenuates Hepatic Ischemia Reperfusion-Induced Apoptosis and Autophagy via the ROS/MAPK Pathway in Mice

            Background: Hepatic ischemia reperfusion (IR) is an important issue in complex liver resection and liver transplantation. The aim of the present study was to determine the protective effect of astaxanthin (ASX), an antioxidant, on hepatic IR injury via the reactive oxygen species/mitogen-activated protein kinase (ROS/MAPK) pathway. Methods: Mice were randomized into a sham, IR, ASX or IR + ASX group. The mice received ASX at different doses (30 mg/kg or 60 mg/kg) for 14 days. Serum and tissue samples at 2 h, 8 h and 24 h after abdominal surgery were collected to assess alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), inflammation factors, ROS, and key proteins in the MAPK family. Results: ASX reduced the release of ROS and cytokines leading to inhibition of apoptosis and autophagy via down-regulation of the activated phosphorylation of related proteins in the MAPK family, such as P38 MAPK, JNK and ERK in this model of hepatic IR injury. Conclusion: Apoptosis and autophagy caused by hepatic IR injury were inhibited by ASX following a reduction in the release of ROS and inflammatory cytokines, and the relationship between the two may be associated with the inactivation of the MAPK family.
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              Effective inhibition of skin cancer, tyrosinase, and antioxidative properties by astaxanthin and astaxanthin esters from the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis.

              Astaxanthin mono- (AXME) and diesters (AXDE) were characterized and examined for anticancer potency with total carotenoids (TC) and astaxanthin (AX) against UV-7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced skin cancer model in rat. At 200 μg/kg bw, AXDE and AXME reduced UV-DMBA-induced tumor incidences up to 96 and 88%, respectively, when compared to AX (66%) and TC (85%). UV-DMBA has been known to generate high levels of free radicals and tyrosinase enzyme, leading to characteristic symptoms of skin pigmentation and tumor initiation. Intriguingly, ~7-fold increase in tyrosinase and 10-fold decrease in antioxidant levels were normalized by AXDE and AXME as opposed to only ~1.4-2.2-fold by AX and TC, respectively. This result together with the appearance of 72 and 58 ng/mL of retinol in the serum of respective AXE-treated (AXDE + AXME) and AX-treated animals suggested that better anticancer potency of AXEs could be due to increased bioavailability.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                DDDT
                dddt
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove
                1177-8881
                09 June 2020
                2020
                : 14
                : 2275-2285
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Gastroenterology, Putuo People’s Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine , Shanghai 200060, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Gastroenterology, Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine , Shanghai 200072, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jianye Wu Tel +86-21-32274550 Email wjymail@163.com
                Article
                230749
                10.2147/DDDT.S230749
                7293384
                © 2020 Li et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 91, Pages: 11
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