Background: An imbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants determine the level of oxidative stress which is implicated in the etiopathogenesis of various neuropsychiatric disorders including depression. Therefore, treatment with the antioxidant could potentially improve the balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of astaxanthin, a potential antioxidant, to reduce reserpine-induced depression of BALB/c mice (Mus musculus).
Method: On the behavioral level, antidepressant property of astaxanthin (50 mg/kg, orally) on reserpine (2 mg/kg, subcutaneously) induced depressed mice was evaluated by forced swim test (FST) and tail suspension test (TST). In the biochemical level, the ability of astaxanthin to mitigate reserpine-induced oxidative stress was evaluated by the measurement of malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) in brain, liver and plasma samples. On the other hand, the efficiency of astaxanthin to replenish glutathione depletion and antioxidant enzyme activity augmentation in the same samples were also investigated.
Results: Astaxanthin was able to lower reserpine induced immobility time significantly (p<0.05) in FST and TST. Mice treated with astaxanthin showed significantly (p<0.05) low level of oxidative stress markers such as malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO). Consistently, the level of reduced glutathione (GSH), and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase were augmented due to the oral administration of astaxanthin.
Conclusion: This study suggests that astaxanthin reduces reserpine-induced oxidative stress and therefore might be effective in treating oxidative stress associated depression.