Protective Effect of Astaxanthin on Prenatal Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide Exposed Behavioral Deficits in Adult Mice


Sexual Behavior
Depressive-Like Behavior
Anxiety-Like Behavior

How to Cite

Gholami Roudmajani , E. ., Hayati Roodbari , N. ., Goudarzvand , M. ., & Parivar, K. . (2020). Protective Effect of Astaxanthin on Prenatal Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide Exposed Behavioral Deficits in Adult Mice. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 22(2). Retrieved from


Background: Prenatal maternal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure causes behavioral deficits in adulthood. LPS-exposure cause oxidative damage and cytokines production. In contrast, astaxanthin (Ast) is a carotenoid antioxidant that shows protective effects through its antioxidant capacity.

Objectives: This study investigates the effect of prenatal treatment with astaxanthin on the behavioral deficit (including sexual, depressive, and anxiety-like behavior) caused by prenatal maternal LPS in adult male offspring.

Methods: Pregnant mice were randomly divided into 4 groups: (1) control, (2) LPS: injecting with LPS (20 µg/kg, sc.) on gestation day 11, (3) Ast: receiving astaxanthin (4 mg/kg for 3 days, i.p.) on 11 - 13th gestation day, (4) LPS+Ast: injecting with LPS (20 µg/kg, sc.) on gestation day 11 and receiving astaxanthin (4 mg/kg for 3 days, i.p.) on 11 - 13th gestation day. Then in each group, 23 day old male offspring (3 and 12 male children from each mother and group, respectively) were separated from mothers and then the sexual, depressive and anxiety-like behaviors were examined in adult male mice.

Results: Findings showed that prenatal LPS-exposed mice had more anxiety and spent less time in open arms of the elevated plus-maze test (P < 0.05). In addition, it decreased sexual behaviors, the amount of which was significant in the number of sniffing, following behaviors (P < 0.01). Also, there was no significant difference between different groups in the forced swimming test (P < 0.05). On the other hand, prenatal treatment with astaxanthin significantly elevated the percentage of open arm time and open arm entry, without altering in locomotor activity (P < 0.05). Also, it significantly increased sexual behavior in Ast and LPS+Ast groups (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: The obtained results suggest that prenatal maternal exposure to LPS impaired several aspects of male sexual behavior and resulted in behavioral deficits in adulthood, while astaxanthin has an antianxiety effect and improves the deficits of sexual behavior presumably via its antioxidant property.



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