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Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Jan;46(1):212-9. Epub 2007 Aug 14.

Effect of astaxanthin on kidney function impairment and oxidative stress induced by mercuric chloride in rats.

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Post-graduate Program on Toxicological Biochemistry, Center of Natural and Exact Sciences, Federal University of Santa Maria, 97105-900 Santa Maria, RS, Brazil.


Reactive oxygen species are implicated as mediators of tissue damage in the acute renal failure induced by inorganic mercury. Astaxanthin (ASX), a carotenoid with potent antioxidant properties, exists naturally in various plants, algae, and seafoods. This paper evaluated the ability of ASX to prevent HgCl(2) nephrotoxicity. Rats were injected with HgCl(2) (0 or 5 mg/kg b.w., sc) 6h after ASX had been administered (0, 10, 25, or 50mg/kg, by gavage) and were killed 12h after HgCl(2) exposure. Although ASX prevented the increase of lipid and protein oxidation and attenuated histopathological changes caused by HgCl(2) in kidney, it did not prevent creatinine increase in plasma and delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase inhibition induced by HgCl(2). Glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities were enhanced, while superoxide dismutase activity was depressed in HgCl(2)-treated rats when compared to control and these effects were prevented by ASX. Our results indicate that ASX could have a beneficial role against HgCl(2) toxicity by preventing lipid and protein oxidation, changes in the activity of antioxidant enzymes and histopathological changes.

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