Therapeutic Potential of Astaxanthin Against Cadmium-Induced Hepatic Failure: An Experimental Study

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of basic sciences, University of Mazandaran

2 Department of Biology, Faculty of science, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Mazandaran, Iran.

3 Medicinal Plants and Natural Products Research Center, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.



Cadmium is a toxic metal that can lead to liver failure in humans and animals. Astaxanthin (ASX) is one of the wellknown xanthophyll carotenoids in food that has remarkable antioxidant properties. Hence, this study investigated the
effect of ASX against cadmium-induced hepatic failure. Twenty-four mice were divided into four groups of six each
and treated intraperitoneally as follows: group 1 (sham) received normal saline and olive oil; group 2 received 10
mg/kg/day of ASX; groups 3 and 4 were treated with cadmium (1 mg/kg/day) and ASX (10 mg/kg/day) + cadmium (1
mg/kg/day), respectively. After 14 consecutive days, mice were sacrificed and blood and liver samples were isolated
for histopathological and biochemical experiments. Our findings showed a significant increase in serum alanine
aminotransferase level, as a hepatic marker, following cadmium administration (p < 0.05). In this regard, cadmium led
to hepatic leukocyte infiltration, dilated sinusoids, and increased hepatic metallothionein level (p < 0.01). Following the
administration of ASX, a significant improvement was found in the metallothionein level and hepatic enzymes alongside
histopathologic alterations. The present study revealed that the administration of ASX could prevent cadmium-induced
hepatic failure, which may be related to the antioxidant properties of this carotenoid.