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Astaxanthin Reduces the Severity of Intestinal Damage in a Neonatal Rat Model of Necrotizing Enterocolitis
Objective This study aimed to ascertain the effects of astaxanthin (ASX) in an experimental necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) model using rat pups.
Study Design Forty-two pups born from five Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into three groups as the control group, NEC + placebo (saline), and NEC + ASX. Pups in the NEC + ASX group were given 100 mg/kg/day oral ASX from day 1 to day 4 of the study. Saline of 2 mL/kg was given to the NEC + placebo group. Histopathological, immunohistochemical (caspase-3), and biochemical evaluations including the total antioxidant status (TAS), total oxidant status (TOS), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH), lipid hydroperoxide (LPO), 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nfr-2) activities were all performed.
Results A better survival rate and weight gain were demonstrated in the NEC + ASX group (p < 0.05). In the histopathological evaluation, the severity of intestinal damage was significantly reduced in the NEC + ASX group, as well as decreased apoptosis (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] for caspase-3; p = 0.001). The biochemical analyses of intestinal tissue TOS, oxidative stress index (OSI; TOS/TAS), IL-1β, LPO, 8-OHdG, AOPP, caspase-3 (p < 0.001 for all), and TNF-α and MPO (p = 0.001 for both parameters) levels were lower in the NEC + ASX group than in the NEC + placebo group. Nrf-2, TAS, GSH, and SOD levels were higher in the NEC + ASX group than in the NEC + placebo group (p = 0.001, 0.001, <0.001, and 0.01, respectively).
Conclusion ASX treatment has been shown to effectively reduce the severity of intestinal damage in NEC due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic properties.
NEC causes extremely high morbidity and mortality, as well as many complications.
We investigated the effectiveness of ASX in the experimental NEC model created in rat pups.
First study examining the effect of ASX on the experimental NEC rat model.
Article published online:
14 April 2021
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