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Astaxanthin protects PC12 cells from glutamate-induced neurotoxicity through multiple signaling pathways

Zhang, Yiran, Wang, Wei, Hao, Cui, Mao, Xiangzhao, Zhang, Lijuan
Journal of functional foods 2015 v.16 pp. 137-151
apoptosis, aquatic organisms, astaxanthin, calcium, caspase-3, dietary supplements, glutamic acid, membrane potential, mitochondria, mitochondrial membrane, mitogen-activated protein kinase, neurons, neuroprotective effect, neurotoxicity, reactive oxygen species, remediation, signal transduction, transcription factor NF-kappa B
Astaxanthin, a carotenoid extensively found in marine organisms and increasingly used as a dietary supplement, has been reported to have neuroprotective effect. In this study, the neuroprotective effects and mechanisms of astaxanthin against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity were explored. The results showed that pretreatment with astaxanthin inhibited neuronal PC12 cell death induced by L-glutamate and reduced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) significantly. Astaxanthin prevented glutamate-induced apoptosis by depressing the elevation of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, caspase-3 activation and Ca2+ influx. Moreover, the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) as well as the activation of ROS associated NF-κB and MAPK pathways were also inhibited upon treatment with astaxanthin. Therefore, the neuroprotective effects reflected the ability of astaxanthin in the regulation of multiple signaling pathways that protect mitochondria as well as cellular damage induced by L-glutamate. Thus, astaxanthin has the potential to be used as a prophylactic or remediation agent against neuronal disorders.