Astaxanthin exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in macrophages in NRF2-dependent and independent manners.
J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Sep 19 ;62:202-209. Epub 2018 Sep 19. PMID: 30308382
Although anti-inflammatory effects of astaxanthin (ASTX) have been suggested, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully understood. Particularly, the modulatory action of ASTX in the interplay between nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) and nuclear factorκB (NFκB) to exert its anti-inflammatory effect in macrophages is unknown. The effect of ASTX on mRNA and protein expression of pro-inflammatory and antioxidant genes and/or cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation were determined in RAW 264.7 macrophages, bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) from wild-type (WT) and Nrf2-deficient mice, and/or splenocytes and peritoneal macrophages of obese mice fed ASTX. The effect of ASTX on M1 and M2 macrophage polarization was evaluated in BMDM. ASTX significantly decreased LPS-induced mRNA expression of interleukin 6 (Il-6) and Il-1β by inhibiting nuclear translocation of NFκB p65; and attenuated LPS-induced ROS with an increase in NRF2 nuclear translocation, concomitantly decreasing NADPH oxidase 2 expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages. In BMDM of WT and Nrf2-deficient mice, ASTX decreased basal and LPS-induced ROS accumulation. Theinduction of Il-6 mRNA by LPS was repressed by ASTX in both types of BMDM while Il-1β mRNA was decreased only in WT BMDM. Furthermore, ASTX consumption lowered LPS sensitivity of splenocytes in obese mice. ASTX decreased M1 polarization of BMDM while increasing M2 polarization. ASTX exerts its anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting nuclear translocation of NFκB p65 and by preventing ROS accumulation in NRF2-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Thus, ASTX is an agent with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be used for the prevention of inflammatory conditions.