Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Astaxanthin on Gastrointestinal Diseases

Jaeeun Lee, Min Hyun Kim, Hyeyoung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A moderate amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is produced under normal conditions, where they play an important role in cell signaling and are involved in many aspects of the immune response to pathogens. On the other hand, the excessive production of ROS destructs macromolecules, cell membranes, and DNA, and activates pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, which may lead to various pathologic conditions. Gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa is constantly exposed to ROS due to the presence of bacteria and other infectious pathogens in food, as well as alcohol consumption, smoking, and the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Prolonged excessive oxidative stress and inflammation are two major risk factors for GI disorders such as ulcers and cancers. Bioactive food compounds with potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity have been tested in experimental GI disease models to evaluate their therapeutic potential. Astaxanthin (AST) is a fat-soluble xanthophyll carotenoid that is naturally present in algae, yeast, salmon, shrimp, and krill. It has been shown that AST exhibits protective effects against GI diseases via multiple mechanisms. Residing at the surface and inside of cell membranes, AST directly neutralizes ROS and lipid peroxyl radicals, enhances the activity of anti-oxidant enzymes, and suppresses pro-inflammatory transcription factors and cytokines. In addition, AST has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and metastasis via modulating cell proliferation-related pathways, apoptosis, and autophagy. Considering the potential benefits of AST in GI diseases, this review paper aims to summarize recent advances in AST research, focusing on its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects against gastric and intestinal ulcers and cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15471
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Astaxanthin on Gastrointestinal Diseases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this