Astaxanthin Inhibits Acetaldehyde-Induced Cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y Cells by Modulating Akt/CREB and p38MAPK/ERK Signaling Pathways.
Mar Drugs. 2016 Mar ;14(3). Epub 2016 Mar 10. PMID: 26978376
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to brain tissue damage and cognitive dysfunction. Acetaldehyde, the most toxic metabolite of ethanol, mediates the brain tissue damage and cognitive dysfunction induced by chronic excessive alcohol consumption. In this study, the effect of astaxanthin, a marine bioactive compound, on acetaldehyde-induced cytotoxicity was investigated in SH-SY5Y cells. It was found that astaxanthin protected cells from apoptosis by ameliorating the effect of acetaldehyde on the expression of Bcl-2 family proteins, preventing the reduction of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and the increase of pro-apoptotic protein Bak induced by acetaldehyde. Further analyses showed that astaxanthin treatment inhibited acetaldehyde-induced reduction of the levels of activated Akt and cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB). Astaxanthin treatment also prevented acetaldehyde-induced increase of the level of activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and decrease of the level of activated extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs). Activation of Akt/CREB pathway promotes cell survival and is involved in the upregulation of Bcl-2 gene. P38MAPK plays a critical role in apoptotic events while ERKs mediates the inhibition of apoptosis. Thus, astaxanthin may inhibit acetaldehyde-induced apoptosis through promoting the activation of Akt/CREB and ERKs and blocking the activation of p38MAPK. In addition, astaxanthin treatment suppressed the oxidative stress induced by acetaldehyde and restored the antioxidative capacity of SH-SY5Y cells. Therefore, astaxanthin may protect cells against acetaldehyde-induced cytotoxicity through maintaining redox balance and modulating apoptotic and survival signals. The results suggest that astaxanthin treatment may be beneficial for preventing neurotoxicity associated with acetaldehyde and excessive alcohol consumption.