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    The astaxanthin-induced improvement in lipid metabolism during exercise is mediated by a PGC-1α increase in skeletal muscle.
    J Clin Biochem Nutr 2014 Mar 19;54(2):86-9. Epub 2014 Feb 19.
    Department of Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan.
    Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll carotenoid, accelerates lipid utilization during aerobic exercise, although the underlying mechanism is unclear. The present study investigated the effect of astaxanthin intake on lipid metabolism associated with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) in mice. Mice were divided into 4 groups: sedentary, sedentary and astaxanthin-treated, exercised, and exercised and astaxanthin-treated. After 2 weeks of treatment, the exercise groups performed treadmill running at 25 m/min for 30 min. Immediately after running, intermuscular pH was measured in hind limb muscles, and blood was collected for measurements. Proteins were extracted from the muscle samples and PGC-1α and its downstream proteins were measured by western blotting. Levels of plasma fatty acids were significantly decreased after exercise in the astaxanthin-fed mice compared with those fed a normal diet. Intermuscular pH was significantly decreased by exercise, and this decrease was inhibited by intake of astaxanthin. Levels of PGC-1α and its downstream proteins were significantly elevated in astaxanthin-fed mice compared with mice fed a normal diet. Astaxanthin intake resulted in a PGC-1α elevation in skeletal muscle, which can lead to acceleration of lipid utilization through activation of mitochondrial aerobic metabolism.

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