Astaxanthin inhibits H2O2-mediated apoptotic cell death in mouse neural progenitor cells via modulation of p38 and MEK signaling pathways

Jeong Hwan Kim, Woobong Choi, Jong Hwan Lee, Sung Jong Jeon, Yung Hyun Choi, Byung Woo Kim, Hyo Ihl Chang, Soo Wan Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, the neuroprotective effects of astaxanthin on H 2O2-mediated apoptotic cell death, using cultured mouse neural progenitor cells (mNPCs), were investigated. To cause apoptotic cell death, mNPCs were pretreated with astaxanthin for 8 h and followed by treatment of 0.3 mM H2O2. Pretreatment of mNPCs with astaxanthin significantly inhibited H2O2-mediated apoptosis and induced cell growth in a dose-dependent manner. In Western blot analysis, astaxanthin-pretreated cells showed the activation of p-Akt, p-MEK, p-ERK, and Bcl-2, and the reduction of p-P38, p-SAPK/JNK, Bax, p-GSK3b, cytochrome c, caspase-3, and PARP. Because H2O2 triggers caspases activation, this study examined whether astaxanthin can inhibit caspases activation in H2O2-treated mNPCs. After H 2O2 treatment, caspases activities were prominently increased, but astaxanthin pretreatment significantly inhibited H 2O2-mediated caspases activation. Astaxanthin pretreatment also significantly recovered the ATP production ability of H2O 2-treated cells. These findings indicate that astaxanthin inhibits H2O2-mediated apoptotic features in mNPCs. Inhibition assays with SB203580 (10 μM, a specific inhibitor of p38) and PD98059 (10 μM, a specific inhibitor of MEK) clearly showed that astaxanthin can inhibit H2O2-mediated apoptotic death via modulation of p38 and MEK signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1355-1363
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of microbiology and biotechnology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Nov


  • Antioxidant
  • Apoptotic cell death
  • Astaxanthin
  • HO
  • Mouse neural progenitor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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