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Marine Carotenoids: Biological Functions and Commercial Applications
Mar. Drugs 2011, 9(3), 447-465; doi:10.3390/md9030447

Astaxanthin: A Potential Therapeutic Agent in Cardiovascular Disease

1,2,*  and 2
1 Renal Research Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and The University of Queensland School of Medicine, Level 9 Ned Hanlon Building, Butterfield Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia 2 School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 February 2011 / Revised: 14 March 2011 / Accepted: 18 March 2011 / Published: 21 March 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Carotenoids (Special Issue))
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Astaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid present in microalgae, fungi, complex plants, seafood, flamingos and quail. It is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties and as such has potential as a therapeutic agent in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Synthetic forms of astaxanthin have been manufactured. The safety, bioavailability and effects of astaxanthin on oxidative stress and inflammation that have relevance to the pathophysiology of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, have been assessed in a small number of clinical studies. No adverse events have been reported and there is evidence of a reduction in biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation with astaxanthin administration. Experimental studies in several species using an ischaemia-reperfusion myocardial model demonstrated that astaxanthin protects the myocardium when administered both orally or intravenously prior to the induction of the ischaemic event. At this stage we do not know whether astaxanthin is of benefit when administered after a cardiovascular event and no clinical cardiovascular studies in humans have been completed and/or reported. Cardiovascular clinical trials are warranted based on the physicochemical and antioxidant properties, the safety profile and preliminary experimental cardiovascular studies of astaxanthin.
Keywords: antioxidants; xanthophyll carotenoid; inflammation; Haematococcus pluvialis; oxidative stress antioxidants; xanthophyll carotenoid; inflammation; Haematococcus pluvialis; oxidative stress
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Fassett, R.G.; Coombes, J.S. Astaxanthin: A Potential Therapeutic Agent in Cardiovascular Disease. Mar. Drugs 2011, 9, 447-465.

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