Dietary beta-carotene and astaxanthin but not canthaxanthin stimulate splenocyte function in mice.
Anticancer Res. 1999 Nov-Dec;19(6B):5223-7. PMID: 10697539
Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164, USA.
The in vivo modulatory effect of beta-carotene, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin on lymphocyte function was investigated. Female BALB/c mice (8 wk old) were fed a basal diet containing 0, 0.1% or 0.4% beta-carotene, astaxanthin or canthaxanthin for 0, 2 or 4 wk (n = 8/diet/period). Splenic lymphocytes were isolated and mitogen-stimulated proliferation, IL-2 production and lymphocyte cytotoxicity were assessed. Body weight and feed intake were not different among dietary treatments. Plasma carotenoids were undetectable in unsupplemented mice but concentrations of the respective carotenoids were elevated in mice fed 0.1 or 0.4% beta-carotene (0.22 and 0.39 mumol/L), astaxanthin (16.4 and 50.2 mumol/L) and canthaxanthin (5.00 and 7.02 mumol/L) respectively. Mice fed both dietary levels of beta-carotene and astaxanthin had enhanced phytohemagglutinin-induced lymphoblastogenesis compared to unsupplemented mice (P<0.03). No treatment difference was detected with concanavalin A- or lipopolysaccharide-induced lympho-proliferation nor with IL-2 production (P<0.05). Astaxanthin (0.1%) also enhanced lymphocyte cytotoxic activity (P<0.08). In contrast, canthaxanthin did not significantly influence any of the lymphocyte functions measured. Results indicate that beta-carotene and astaxanthin but not canthaxanthin exert enhanced splenic lymphocyte function in mice.